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Pivot Space: Making Workspaces Safe and Healthy for All

The Covid-19 pandemic brought in unforeseen changes in our everyday life. While the social and physical scenarios around us underwent a major transformation, the fear of Covid-19 continues to linger around. This has led to the need to rethink; we need to re-evaluate our spaces and adapt to the new normal. Thus, the year 2020 has been a period of recalibration, readjustment, and evolution. The same applies to the workplace design industry as well.

With workplaces considering reopening, restructuring of the spaces and revamping of the workspaces as per the Covid-19 protocols becomes extremely crucial. There is a need to identify the buffer spaces in our design and to pivot their functions to ensure a safe and secure workspace. We need to reconsider the spatial organization in our current workspaces by means of these ‘Pivot Spaces’.

But aren’t we all curious to know that where these ‘Pivot spaces ‘ have been for all this time? These spaces have always been around us but, probably lost in the process of conventional office design and have now come to the limelight.

So what are Pivot Spaces exactly?

They are the stepping stone to re-establishing workspaces post covid. As best described by the Hushoffice blog: “It is a model of space design in such a way that they are multi-functional and easy to reorganize at any time.” Therefore, this is an adaptive space configuration that is multi-functional, flexible, and helps us incorporate feasible workspace ergonomics and comfort.

The mobile nature of the ‘Pivot Spaces’ helps to create safe distances in the office, thus not only achieving social distancing but also re-exploring the existing spaces and putting them to better use.

How do Pivot Spaces help?

A while ago, social distancing wasn’t big on the overall continuum of design; but as of now, it has taken center stage. Moreover, there is a radical change in the way offices function today- remote working and video conferencing have proven to be more feasible and safe. The workspace culture is ever-evolving; interactive work desks and ‘Work-Cafes’ have replaced the typical mundane office desks. Thus, we can say that ‘Pivot Spaces’ help in shifting our focus to the need of the hour and adapt to better design.

Let us further delve deep into the wonders of these ‘Pivot Spaces’:

Helping employees maintain social distance

Because it is now a priority, more so than ever. Safety is an absolutely essential aspect of work-life post-Covid-19. Creating safe distances between employees in a controlled environment is necessary. Well-designed and conceptualized pivots can facilitate the distribution of employees around the office space as per the workplace guidelines. This will also improve the space planning and reduce the redundant negative space in the existing design.

Additional elements like biophilia used to create spatial barriers can help alleviate the mood as well as add to the visual appeal of the space. Hence, Pivot Spaces can add feelings of safety, comfort, and relaxation among the employees.

Boosting workplace functionality

The advent of Pivot Spaces has opened doors to reconsidering the functionality of the existing design. Since the whole concept of a pivot space is majorly based on furniture layout, choosing the best possible, ergonomically designed furniture can play a vital role in ensuring the best spatial experience. These can range from one-seater armchairs, desks, modular tables, and sofas.

Furthermore, partitions can be designed to define spatial hierarchy by separating and dividing spaces into smaller private work bays. Desks with adjustable heights can also be used and re-arranged accordingly to suit user needs, thus boosting spatial functionality and human productivity.

Re-defining workspace interactions

Pivot spaces are not limited to ergonomic furniture and spatial reconfiguration. They also promote safe and easy internal and external communications. Rooms with perspex glass walls can be really useful here. Small fireside rooms or other impromptu collaboration space setups also solve the purpose. Pivot Spaces can make the process of communication between two people much safer, and this is noteworthy.

An office space with functioning pivots can also instill more confidence in clients and remove physical inhibitions formed due to the pandemic.

Reflecting an organization’s strength and adaptability

Proper implementation of pivot spaces can offer organizations value-added benefits to their brand presence and offer a strong demonstration of their creativity. Organizations that use pivot spaces demonstrate a sense of adaptability and fast thinking that shines a positive light on both their internal culture, as well as the external one, giving a surge of confidence to both employees and clients/visitors in terms of its strength and problem-solving.

The more solid the framework for an organization; the more respect and recognition it will gain in its specific industry. Pivot spaces can play a large role in the company and its brand being noticed.

In conclusion: some examples of ‘Pivot Spaces’

A key question remains. How exactly to apply pivot spaces within your workplace? Well, let’s examine a few instances:

  • Meeting rooms can be arranged into multiple ‘half-moon’ spaces
  • There can be ‘work cafes’ that place employees on bar-high stools and separate them with perspex screens
  • Partitions can be placed strategically in many open areas to divide into multiple working bays.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. 2021 is a vital year for employees to finally getting accustomed to the full frequency of their work-life after a prolonged separation. Pivot spaces will play an important role in informing workplace design’s evolution in this period, as well as providing new avenues and ideas on how workplaces will be designed in the future. Workplace design, as always, moves forward with time–and due to its people-centric nature, will continue to evolve, adapt and grow to retain its importance in work-life.

Related read: Designing COVID-Proof Cafeteria at Workplace

As both an Architect and Architectural Journalist, he thrives on building unique content, with words and thoughts--as his brick and mortar. A natural-born explorer, he puts no limits on things he's passionate about diving into, be it cuisines, cultures or books. An avid fiction reader and a chronic over-thinker, he still finds enough time to be happy-go-lucky and easy to approach.

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