Flexible office layouts help improve ‘Wellbeing’ in the workplace

World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, raised the profile of initiatives to combat stress, anxiety and depression in the workplace.

The average person could spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, and office layout, noise/acoustics, level of daylight, temperature, air quality and ventilation can all have a dramatic effect on our wellbeing.

Style Partitions is the UK market leader for moveable walls, specialising in creating flexible space and working with architects to deliver ingenious room configurations that help influence concentration, collaboration, confidentiality and creativity.

According to Style’s group managing director, Julian Sargent, wellbeing in the workplace is being considered far more when it comes to adaptable work space and, for both new builds and refurbishments, there is far greater focus on its importance.

“With moveable walls, there has always been a focus on acoustics, ease of manoeuvre, light, and the manner in which space can be easily adapted,” said Julian.

“But now we’re seeing greater emphasis on making the workspace even more beneficial to employees’ wellbeing.

“Take, for example, our innovative ‘working walls’ solution that promotes collaborative workspace, informal gatherings and vibrant exchanges of ideas. A big step away from being locked in a formal, claustrophobic meeting room for hours, these walls offer a more open and flexible work culture, remove the usual barriers of meeting rooms, segregated work desks and cubicles, and offer companies a space where individuals can group together, team up quickly on projects, share ideas and change their environment to suit the task in hand.

“Quite simply, they are a cluster of individual moveable wall panels that can be used in isolation to create one simple screen, or be pulled together for a wider temporary wall.

“Very simple to operate, and also acting as a magnetic white board or fabric pin board, they can be moved into place, locked, and pivoted as required, which means they can swivel round during breakout sessions to share ideas with adjoining groups during brainstorms or impromptu gatherings.

“Natural light is also very important, and demand for glazed moveable wall systems is on the up. When you have a large open plan office, with lots of daylight, you can use glazed moveable wall systems to quickly create private meeting rooms while retaining that open plan, airy and well lit feel, so that people don’t feel trapped in a windowless room for hours.

“For occasions when extra privacy is needed, we have magic glass solutions, which turn clear glass into smoked glass at the push of a button, and we offer vertically rising blinds within double-glazing that come up from the bottom and can stop at head or shoulder height. This means light can still filter in from above, but people walking past can’t see in.

“Many businesses recognise the need to promote better wellbeing in the workplace, but find it difficult because office space is often at a premium and, as they grow, the density of desks and people rises making it more cramped, stressful and oppressive.

“That’s where flexible and clever design can help, and many of our moveable wall solutions lend themselves towards shared, collaborative workspaces by using space more efficiently which can help to enhance wellbeing.”


Style showcasing at ‘Education Buildings Scotland’ Exhibition

Style Scotland will be showcasing its latest moveable wall solutions at this year’s Education Building Scotland exhibition at the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) on the 21st and 22nd November 2018. Visit Style at Stand A16.

To register for the show, please click here 

Education Buildings Scotland Exhibition & Conference brings the Scottish education built environment and policy professionals together from early years, schools, colleges and universities for two days under one roof. 

The Scottish Government, SFT, AUDE and Architecture & Design Scotland, fully support Education Buildings Scotland.

Education Buildings Scotland attendees are responsible for the whole spectrum of education facilities, from early years to universities.They’re all at different stages in the project lifecycle, from initial funding decisions to refurbishment.

The two-day conference programme will provide attendees with advice, inspiration and guidance, while the exhibition will help them to source the organisations, products, and services that can help them achieve their objectives.

“We’re delighted to be attending this year’s exhibition,” said David Louden, Style’s director for Scotland.

“Visitors will be able to see one of our latest moveable walls in full operation on our stand, and can talk to our experts about recent developments in flexible room design for schools, colleges and universities.”

Style is the UK market leader for moveable walls, and the education sector is one of its largest markets.

“We have anything from simple manual folding walls through to fully automatic systems that descend from the ceiling to divide stepped lecture theatres, which means we have solutions for all requirements and budgets.

“If you’re visiting the exhibition, we’d be delighted to see you at stand A16.”


A new school term and a good time to check your moveable wall

Schools, colleges and universities are being encouraged to check the smooth operation of their moveable partitioning walls now that the new term has begun, or look at managing space better with a new operable wall to divide classrooms, assembly halls, gyms or canteens.

According to Mike Fine, Style’s director for the midlands, the education sector is one of the highest users of moveable walls, enabling them to adapt their space to maximum effect, and often changing rooms each and every day to cater for different events.

“Space is often tight in many schools, colleges and universities,” explained Mike, “and its therefore vital to use all rooms as much as possible during the day. As an example, many educational establishments vary the use of their main hall on a daily basis, transforming it into a gym, dance studio, drama club, exam room or canteen – and often needing to sub-divide it so that a number of activities can run concurrently in the same area.

“Its for this reason that we supply and install so many moveable walls to the education sector, so that the space can be reconfigured in a matter of minutes, often with such outstanding acoustic integrity that classes can run either side of the wall undisturbed.

“As well as being the UK market leader for new moveable wall installations, we also lead the way in providing scheduled servicing and repairs through our national aftercare team.

“This ensures the smooth, continued operation of a wall in a busy school environment, and by routinely servicing and maintaining your moveable partitioning wall protects your investment, ensures its longevity and keeps its acoustic integrity intact.

“Scheduled servicing is by far the best long-term solution with some walls lasting for as long as 25 years,” continued Mike, “however, damaged walls, or worn parts, should also be repaired swiftly by a professional engineer because continued use can cause permanent damage and unnecessary expense.”

For more information about a new moveable wall or Style’s aftercare service, please contact your nearest regional Style office.


Architects - talk to us during the design stages, urges Style’s managing director

Architects and specifiers looking to offer clients flexible space through the inclusion of a moveable wall should tap into Style’s expertise as early as possible.

That’s the advice of group managing director, Julian Sargent, who explains that when Style’s team is brought into a project early it can lead to wide-ranging benefits.

“We have talented and innovative design teams across the UK, and we’re noticing that architects are using us more and more to assist in finding the best solution when it comes to flexible space,” said Julian.

“The level of innovation in the moveable walls sector is happening at an incredible pace, with fully automatic systems, vertically rising moveable walls, working walls that swivel to create collaborative space, walls that cater for stepped auditoriums, glazed systems with magic glass that frosts at the push of a button to give privacy – the list is quite endless.

“As a result, we’re helping architects find the best solution, and offering advice on-site too. A good example being Royal Holloway University where we spent time with both the architect and contractor and suggested changes that saved money and improved the aesthetics.”

Style is the UK’s leading moveable walls specialist and 9 times winner of the prestigious FIS Gold contractors’ award.

Offering a range of fully automatic, semi-automatic and manual moveable and folding walls, the company can provide a solution for all requirements and budgets across multiple market sectors.

These include corporate, hospitality, education, local authority, religion and healthcare.

For more information, please contact your nearest regional Style office.


Style offers Formula 1 Service at the Silverstone Grand Prix

Silverstone recently hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which is a time of year when Style’s team are called in to supervise a pit-stop turnaround.

The Wing, a venue by the track used throughout the year for hospitality, conference and VIP viewing, transforms into a media centre for this global event, giving the world’s broadcasters, reporters and journalists a private room for the weekend’s racing.

Seven years ago, Style installed a semi-automatic DORMA moveable wall to quickly reconfigure the space, specifically with the annual F1 in mind.

Because this is such a high profile event, the Style team offered to be on hand each year to check the wall was properly positioned as part of a service contract. This removes the stress from the organisers and offers genuine added value to a high profile client.

“Watching our team in action to quickly help reconfigure the room in time for the world’s press to arrive is similar to the speed and precision of Lewis Hamilton’s team when he comes in for a tyre change,” joked Mike Fine, Style’s director for the Midlands.

“But on a serious note, its a room arrangement that changes an open plan conference suite into a private area with a corridor, and the team at Silverstone are extremely grateful that we are there to assist in altering the space once a year. It’s reassuring to have our technicians on hand to ensure the wall is correctly positioned and that the acoustics are spot on.

“The Wing at Silverstone has also got potential for greater flexibility because, when we installed the moveable wall back in 2011, we future proofed the room by putting in additional tracks. It means if they decide to divide the room further, at a later date, they can split it into thirds.”

For more information, please contact your nearest regional Style office


BIM growing in importance

The NBS National BIM report 2017 revealed that BIM adoption rates have doubled in the last 5 years. In 2012, BIM usage sat at 31% and by 2017 it had reached 62%, showing the speed at which it is being embraced.

The NBS report is complied from a survey of more than 1000 people across varying professions and practices.

As an early adopter of BIM, and the first UK moveable wall specialist to use Building Information Modeling a number of years ago, Style has seen huge benefits.

Julian Sargent, Style’s group managing director, explains. “We’re seeing a significant increase in the specification of fully automatic moveable wall systems which involve electrics and control boxes.

“That means there’s a lot more to consider in the specification process making BIM an invaluable tool.

“We regularly make use of NBS authored objects from the National BIM library, and the system allows our design team to work with other contractors to quickly assess how different options impact on the overall development.

“It also encourages experimentation with various elements, such as glass or fabric covered panels, or different parking arrangements. BIM tools can also be used to maximise acoustic performance, ensuring installation is precisely scheduled so that sound flanking can be minimised.

“With modern moveable walls there’s a lot to consider and this impacts the very earliest stages of a project,” continues Julian. “Involving our experts right at the beginning allows an innovative solution to be created that can surpass expectations – and we use BIM at the very heart of this process.”