Neil Miller, Sales and Marketing Director at QIC Trims discusses the flexibility that glass partitions offer.

As offices return to post-pandemic capacity in the coming months, employers may be minded to implement additional measures to enhance staff health and safety. This could include reconfiguring the workplace layout to create more personal space for employees and prevent the type of infection spread that thrives in densely populated interiors. Glass partitions are ideal for such a task. 

Glass partitions offer flexibility and functionality, allowing the time and cost-effective reconfiguration of interiors without the need to alter fixtures and fittings. This is ideal for an agile working environment where breakout spaces, pods and collaborative hot spots are becoming the norm.

These pop up-style areas are a suitable staging post for meetings of a more personal nature, as well as providing greater privacy for individuals to work outside of an office’s fulcrum with greater focus and less disruption. The spaces also function as somewhere for staff to lunch, make a personal call or simply destress with a few minutes of quiet downtime.

What these innovative areas offer most of all is freedom within the work environment. Freedom that an estimated 46.6% of people in the UK who worked from home during the intermittent lockdowns will have become accustomed to. Because for office staff, being able to prove they no longer need to be tethered to the desk in order to work productively has been one of the few positive outcomes from what has been a very difficult two years for the nation.

It is why employees may have to apply a little imagination to their office’s design in order to encourage staff to reconvene their pre-pandemic work patterns. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating a home-from-home within the workplace filled with an accoutrement of creature comforts, but by open to the individual needs of employees to decide where and how they prefer to work in the office, companies can create an environment where staff feel safe, contented and inspired. Because after all, a happy workplace is a productive workplace.

Designing for workplace wellbeing 

Offering exceptional acoustic performance, full-height single and double-glazed partitions provide designers with the tools to create secure and stylish agile working areas. The systems are instrumental to achieving a balance – which is crucial when it comes to office design – between the collaborative and open agile spaces and the more enclosed quieter areas that give people their own territory. What is more, demountable glass partitions can be easily removed, which in turn reduces the cost implications for future alterations.

Glass partitions are an effective way of managing acoustic and privacy levels in individual agile working spaces without detracting from the interior aesthetic. A quality fixed single or double-glazed system, such as those offered by QIC Trims, provides up to 50% noise reduction, thus screening-out disruptive airborne sounds.

Designing agile office working space that takes into account natural light and its impacts contributes towards achieving the WELL Building Standard, the premier accreditation for buildings that support occupant health and wellbeing.

In research carried out in the U.S by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University, the study revealed a significant drop in incidence of eyestrain, headaches and drowsiness in workers in offices filled with natural daylight. Therefore, glass partitions which act as a conduit for daylight flow increase employee energy and concentration levels, as well as contributing to a reduction in staff absenteeism, a major impediment to workplace productivity.

Well integrated, reliable technology is needed to support the mobility and interactivity that comes with agile working. Fixed technology is a thing of the past and must remain so if workplace flexibility is to be maintained for those that require it.

A full-time return to the workplace will perhaps provide a shock to the system for employees who assumed the daily commute was consigned to their personal history. But the transition will take place more smoothly if the building they’re relocating to offers them the space to work in comfort and safety. In which case, glass partitioning can help facilitate a welcome return to the office.