Down with static desks; up with more dynamic configurations

‘The death of the office’ has long been debated in the commercial interiors space.

What the pandemic has shown is that there will always be an inert desire for people to come together. The question is, how will the office be used moving forwards and what impact will this have on furniture briefs? 

A topic we covered off in a recent virtual focus group with a select number of esteemed interior designers. 


What we will see the demise of, they say, is the desk.

As we make sense of the fall out from the ongoing public health crisis in workplaces the world over, it seems, their prediction will play out.

The insights captured during the session are detailed in our new report. This also draws on the findings of a survey commissioned by – a workplace strategy and employee engagement consultancy headed up by Hannah Nardini, who moderated the focus group.

Spanning 34,000+ participants, from 992 businesses, across the USA, Africa, Europe and Asia, the research reinforces the fact that the desk is simply not as crucial anymore.

This is just one of the findings that will help shape the industry conversation in the weeks, months and years ahead. As we seek to create flexible spaces that are – not just fit for purpose – but purposefully designed to support our cognitive, emotional and operational needs. A challenge that we can only rise to by parting ways with the desk configurations of old. 

Already, interior designers are stripping 40% of desks from work spaces.

As one specifier explained during the session, fixed rows of seating became the norm at the time of the 1918 pandemic. Then, the typewriter was at its height and more women were entering the workplace. Offices were designed to accommodate a different kind of production line. How fitting, then, that this pandemic may lead to the same scenario. A reimagined work space that actually reflects when, where and how we’re working; rather than ‘the way we were’.

As well as accommodating social distancing considerations, organisations are envisioning a marked reduction in occupancy:

  • – Only 11% believe they will be permanently office-based
  • – 69% are likely to split their time between the office and home
  • – 20% anticipate working from home full-time

And when people do come into the office, experts concur, they will do so with a changed mindset. As one of the focus group attendees highlights:

“If you’re creating an office for the future it’s going to be to collaborate, to connect to socialise, to think together, to think things through.”

Read the report to find out how coming to terms with ‘the death of the desk’ can help employers enable a greater degree of flexibility, in every which way. 

Discover, too, the other emerging trends that will influence workplace and furniture design in the here, now and some kind of ‘new normal’.

Click here to access the full report now.