When it comes to innovation, one might not think of the office environment as being at the hotspot for new ideas. However, there is a tremendous amount of thought and theory that goes into today’s modern office layouts. In fact a tremendous paradigm shift has occurred from the 80’s, 90’s & 00’s design being that of cubicle and closed wall private office based to one of open modular and lifestyle based furniture coupled with hard & glass demountable walls as predominant features. However, slapping up demountable walls isn’t something to be taken lightly. When considering demountable walls, one topic not frequently discussed is the height of the demountable wall.
The Varying Height of Demountable Walls
When planning spaces with customers, we often find the conversation centered around the balance of open, collaborative spaces with the need for some amount of privacy. This discussion leads to discussing the benefits and downsides to low, medium, and high walls as well as floor to ceiling options. Therein lies one of the many benefits of choosing demountable walls; Variety.
Here is a look at the pros and cons for each height type:
The workforce of today rarely sit tucked into a cubicle for 8-9 hours working. Low walls allow for constant collaboration and creativity in an open environment rather than restricting daily interaction with colleagues. Studies have been shown proving better productivity, better flow of ideas across different disciplines, and a much better sense of team camaraderie and improved cultural pride in the workplace. Low walls are great for those companies working engaged in thought leadership, creative industries or where teamwork is a large part of the job. However, in some circumstances low walls might not be the best fit for your business. While collaboration is good, the openness of the dialogue can be distracting for others not involved in the conversation who need privacy at that moment. Low walls provide little acoustical privacy. If you’re industry is one that requires confidential discussion and privacy such as accounting, financial or legal, sensitive information, utilizing low walls in your space planning would be inappropriate for your industry.
Medium walls combat some of the issues that low walls can’t solve. Their taller nature means that line of sight is more restricted and help prevent prying eyes, but it would still be possible to see information on a screen by an employee standing up. Their added height brings a bit more acoustical insulation from other team discussions going on around, but generally that amount is negligible. Medium walls offer some degree of collaboration between staff members, they’re second for teamwork when compared with low walls. Medium walls still breed some amount of camaraderie but it can be a bit more difficult to high-five a co-worker without going to their space. One major benefit of medium walls is they have space on which shelving can be installed; helping to keep the desks more organized and providing a more homely feel to the workplace with family photos, momentos, etc.
If your company needs a great deal of privacy, high demountable walls are the best option. Wandering eyes are only possible by walking into a co-worker’s area. Additionally, high walls provide a much quieter place to work. This is good for several reasons. If the office is one where talking on the phone is a large part of the job such as financial services, it will provide enough diminished acoustics for individual conversations to be had. Furthermore, it ensures that workers can simply get on with their jobs and not have to worry about distractions keeping them from their work. Like medium walls, they also provide plenty of room to install shelving or overhead bins. However, this formal way of working isn’t for everyone. It can leave some feeling isolated or out of the loop, and isn’t the best for morale.
Floor to Ceiling Demountable Walls
The latest trend to hit the office environment are floor to ceiling demountable walls. While they are the most expensive type of wall, they’re high quality and extremely versatile, which more than justifies their price. Today most floor to ceiling walls are constructed of glass fostering an open environment yet providing the right amount of privacy when needed. Another benefit to floor to ceiling walls is they fall into the category of office furniture and allow for Section 179 tax breaks. Many floor to ceiling walls now offer telescopic doors allowing for all of the partitions to be opened up or closed depending on the circumstance at that moment. In essence, floor to ceiling walls almost provide for the best of all three worlds; los, medium and high. If you need creativity & collaboration they can be opened up. If you need to have a private client meeting they can be closed.
Regardless of wall type that fits your office best, all four are demountable. Hard walls made of drywall require construction, inconvenience to employees, and loss of productivity. Demountable walls provide versatility if your business is growing or needs to downsize, because they aren’t permanent like drywall.
So Which Wall Type is for You?
When it comes to choosing the height for your demountable wall, it really comes down to what you’re looking to get out of them and what industry you’re in. If you are still unsure of which type of wall is best for you, we would be happy to schedule a listening session to discuss your goals, and help you find a solution that works for your employees and your budget.