With reports suggesting that flexible working spaces are increasing by up to 30% annually across Europe , the demand for buildings to be converted into shared offices - or co-working spaces - within major cities is on the rise. Here, Sarah Cox, Specification Manager at Forbo Flooring Systems, explores this trend and advises on why flexible floor coverings are essential when designing this type of space.
In London, home to one of the highest growth markets of flexible office space in the world, a new co-working space opens, on average, every five days. Initially proving popular amongst small employers and workers who enjoy the idea of working in a collaborative environment, we are now also seeing larger multi-national companies moving their teams into shared spaces as an alternative to rising office costs and long contracts.
Businesses or individuals can rent the workspace as they need it, which means there won’t be a waste of funds on space that no one uses or wants. This type of office gives users access to a mix of private and communal areas, as co-working spaces offer a much more affordable, flexible and modern way for businesses to manage workspace requirements, while providing an opportunity to work alongside and network with other likeminded organisations.
Such spaces typically lend themselves to agreements ranging from month-to-month to a specified term of upwards of five years, but spaces are rented on a short-term basis meaning that eventually, tenants will move out. Therefore, when it comes to the design of shared office spaces, flexibility is key and furniture and furnishings that can be moved around quickly and easily can help to meet the changing dynamics of the office landscape.
With regard to floor coverings, it is important that they are just as easy to remove and re-use elsewhere as they are to install. Adhesive free luxury vinyl tiles for example, provide the perfect solution for truly flexible and sustainable office spaces. Offering a quick and easy installation and post-use removal and reuse, the versatile floor covering is also suitable for use over raised access floors, which are particularly common within the office environment, providing easy maintenance for the building.
Forbo Flooring Systems’ new Allura Ease luxury vinyl tile range, for example, has been specially designed for a completely adhesive free installation. Comprising 18 designs in a range of woods and concretes, the collection forms a well-balanced palette that suits a wide range of applications. The designs feature subtle bevelling and in-register embossing structures to emphasise the texture of the planks for a truly authentic aesthetic.
Thanks to their superior dimensional stability and construction, the tiles and planks, which are part of Forbo’s Fast Fit collection, are rapid to fit with minimal downtime, as well as being easy to remove, re-use and recycle. Indeed, Allura Ease is a truly reusable product as it can be taken up and refitted in other areas quickly, easily and without mess for a truly flexible and sustainable office space.
Furthermore, as shared offices will want to adopt the creation of zones for the variety of activities taking place within the building. Allura Ease can be installed alongside carpet tiles, such as Forbo’s latest carpet tile collection, Tessera Earthscape, without the need for transition strips. Inspired by the natural environment, the Earthscape designs represent the patterns, textures and colours found upon the canvas of the earth, with each colourway comprising a mix of complementing shades to create a varying and seemingly infinite surface design.
As the flexible workspace market matures and diversifies, occupancy rates are high and it is evident that this type of office space is here to stay. Shared office environments, and consequently floor coverings, will continue to evolve in order to cater for the changing requirements of new tenants and their workspace functions, therefore it is important that designers choose furniture and furnishings that are easily adaptable.Developed by Forbo’s in-house team of passionate creators and produced in Europe by Forbo, the new Allura collection pushes the boundaries of design and manufacture. For more information please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/alluraease