What Are Moveable Walls and Why Should You Install Them in your Office?

Furniture

Haworth Enclose Moveable Walls

When it comes to office interiors, not all walls are the same.

From ultra-lightweight workstations to heavy, traditionally built wall partitions, there is no shortage of options for organizing a workspace to fit its employees’ needs.

Changes in the way your workplace is organized can have a significant effect on your employees’ overall productivity. For instance, employee spillover – the tendency for an employee’s nearest neighbours to influence his or her productivity and job satisfaction – can cut or boost productivity by 15 percent.

By optimizing the physical layout of your office, you can maximize each employee’s strengths and weaknesses by addressing their proximity and compatibility with other workers. Your office layout can easily match the type of work each employee performs – from focus-improving distraction-free workstations to open, collaborative open office plans.

But changing established office layouts takes time, energy, and money. To ensure you enjoy the benefits that optimal employee placement can offer, you need to be able to quickly respond to changing needs.

Moveable walls represent a modular, cost-efficient solution to office layout management. Because they are portable, they offer greater long-term value than built-in drywall. If your office moves, you can take your walls and partitions with you.

How Moveable Walls Work

There are multiple types of moveable wall systems, from modular walls to demountable systems that require a more specialized approach to changing office layouts. Some of the more complex options offer increased acoustic isolation and other benefits, but the underlying system remains the same; moveable walls snap into place with little labour and virtually no waste.

Moveable wall systems produce no gypsum dust and avoid interfering with productivity outside the work area. Instead of spending days coping with messy, noisy drywall installation, moveable walls allow office layout changes to take place while daily work routines continue as planned.

With moveable walls, project-based office layouts are possible. Your office is able to flexibly cope with business demands by changing its interior structure to fit. In addition, you can more easily incorporate other elements of office infrastructure – like HVAC or electrical and data cabling  – without having to risk implementing expensive changes later on.

And if you are not sure your office will remain in the same building, you have an even greater incentive to look towards moveable walls. Upon moving out, most of your modular wall system will be readily compatible with your new office space, reducing moving costs immensely and giving moveable walls an ROI advantage that drywall simply cannot match.

How Moveable Walls Reduce the Cost of Office Layout Changes

Modular wall systems reduce the cost of moving and adjusting office interior walls. The ability to quickly construct new layouts without relying on messy, inefficient drywall installation projects makes workplace optimization much less costly.

For instance, although the average cost of installing drywall is low, once you include the cost of knocking down old walls and framing, taping, and mudding for drywall installation, you can easily reach $6 or $8 per square foot.  The fact that moveable walls have the electrical and data cabling built saves even more time and expense by eliminating the need to rewire the reconfigured space.

To top it all off, if you rent the office, you need the owner’s permission to make these changes, and if you eventually move out of that building, the investment is lost.

We haven’t even mentioned the growing trend of incorporating glass into the walls of meeting rooms and private offices.  Ever tried to move a glass wall eight feet to the right so that your meeting room can be split into two private offices?  I don’t recommend it. 

If you are using a moveable wall system, however, the glass panels can simply be detached from their neighbouring panels and reattached in the new location.

This means that for astute office managers, the primary cost consideration is between modular walls vs. drywall. In the vast majority of cases, moveable wall systems offer greater flexibility and better long-term value than drywall installation.

Use Office Space Efficiently When Compensating for Employee Flux

The consideration of long-term value is particularly important when considering office layout changes. Employee flux is real, as individual workers move up the corporate ladder or change departments or locations.

If you invest in the separation of a large room into two smaller rooms to make space for an employee only to discover that, a few years later, that employee no longer works for you, will you still be paying rent for space that you aren’t using?

Most office managers would hold onto the existing configuration until they absolutely need to change it. That leads to inefficient use of office space, as every unoccupied square foot costs money – with average net rates of between $11 and $18 in Halifax. At the same time, workers don’t get to enjoy optimal usage of their office space, which can have a pronounced effect on daily productivity.

With a moveable wall system, you can immediately change the layout of an office in response to new business demands. Large meeting rooms – often the least efficiently used rooms in the office environment – can be separated into multiple smaller rooms when additional workers need to be accommodated.

This happens without generating dust or noise that would interfere with the rest of the office’s productivity. Perhaps more importantly, businesses can pack these walls up and re-use them in a new building if needed.

Do you want to learn more about moveable walls and discover how they can make your office more flexible and productive? Check out our White Paper on Moveable Walls and Raised Floors today!

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors

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