Are pods the future of office life?

If you’re back to office life, at least in part, you’ve probably noticed that things are a little different to the way it was pre-pandemic.

For some of us, the standard COVID safety procedures are still in place but there is also the other issue of trying to make largely open-plan workplaces, designed for the pre-COVID era, function efficiently in a new hybrid reality.

By now, many of us will be familiar with the problems that persistent Zoom calls with remote colleagues and clients can cause in open-plan workspaces. When some people are in-person, and some are online, hybrid life can be challenging at times.

Maybe you’ve found yourself trying to find a quiet space in the office to take an online meeting, but all available meeting rooms are already booked by colleagues who are similarly trying to find quiet spots in which to conduct their own virtual meetings. As a result, many workers with a day of online meetings ahead of them are opting to work from home, rather than commuting to the office.

Many within the office design sector are now questioning if the modern open-plan office set-up is at all suited to post-pandemic office life. Robin Bayliss, Group Sales Director at heritage office furniture manufacturer Bisley, discusses how hybrid office life is leading to the further rise of the pod.

Robin said, “pods are not a new concept to modern office design and their use had been in the ascent pre-pandemic, but in a world coping with the ongoing pandemic, it’s likely that we’ll see their use continue to boom. 

“At Bisley, we have seen huge demand for our Vetrospace pods, Finnish designed modular booths that incorporate health technology, including anti-microbial lighting, anti-viral nano-coating and clean air ventilation. We signed a distribution agreement with Vetrospace in November 2019 and were originally due to launch them at the Clerkenwell Design Week in May 2020.

“The pandemic obviously had other ideas and so for a year or so as WFH remained the norm, we spoke to our corporate clients about their return to work plans and when workers did start to return to the office, the pod orders started rolling in as employers started to understand the needs of the new hybrid workplace.

“Through emerging variants and the ever-ongoing pandemic, it will be interesting to observe how companies adopt the use of pods, or whether they will wait it out in the hope that office life will go back to ‘normal’.”

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