Back to School

Every Space is a Learning Space

The work environment has changed. In fact, it’s safe to say that, as learning has become a career-long endeavour, every workspace needs to become a learning space, too. The employment market has moved with the times, with people switching careers frequently and working simultaneously across multiple fields, which means that learning, education and training have become a much more central requirement in the modern office. “Put simply: working is learning,” says David Fish, MD of AngelShack, local manufactures and suppliers of tailored work place solutions. “Value is created in the exchange of ideas and if you’re teams aren’t learning, they’ll most likely be leaving.”

As company cultures evolve, adapt and change, employers need to ensure that teams and individuals have access to spaces that enable and encourage ongoing learning. Fish explains that this evolution is not only being seen in the workspace. “Progressive teaching methods have evolved to combine a range of educational methods beyond the traditional lectures, seminars and classroom instruction, and involve dynamic collaboration, peer-education, project based learning and other innovative methods,” says Fish “This in turn means that educational spaces also need the flexibility to adapt to constantly shifting learning methods. Classrooms have evolved to support new and evolving technology, and facilitate and support rapid reconfiguration and the constant motion of the dynamic learning space.”

Central to both workspace and educational space design is the need for the fast, efficient and flexible use of space. Neither workspace nor classroom design can afford to be prescriptive or rigid. “The creative and intelligent use of space can add value to any organisation, but when it facilitates learning, it has the potential to provide ongoing and exponential returns,” says Fish.

What this means in practical terms is that working environments need to be agile. They need to be designed so that they are responsive to the constantly changing needs of people in the workspace. “After all, great ideas don’t only originate in boardrooms – more often than not, they arise in spontaneous interactions,” says Fish.

A new school of thought

Designing space so that people can do just that – interact, learn from each other, gather together in an instant and break away and reconfigure at a moment’s notice – is at the heart of designing a productive and learning workspace.

Flexible, adaptive space requires flexible, adaptive furniture. With this in mind, AngelShack’s dynamic team of local designers have worked alongside multiple award-winning German industrial designer Stefan Brodbeck to design a unique range of furniture that is manufactured locally and is as light, bright and dynamic as the minds it supports and engages.

AngelShack’s range of educational and office furniture is not only multi-functional and mobile, but its brightly coloured finishes and non-prescriptive uses allow people to use and configure them as they please – inspiring flexibility, sharing, spontaneous configurations and easy, rapid reconfiguration. Its first priority is the human interaction that fuels ideas.

Quick thinking requires quick responses, and the constant motion of the dynamic learning space. Each piece in AngelShack’s range has been designed not with a specific purpose in mind, but rather the ability for people to engage with them creatively, adapt and reconfigure the space around them and define personal and collaborative spaces in the way the suits them.

Rather than a specific use, they’ve been designed with various postures in mind. “Research has shown that people tend to engage better when they stand than when they sit,” says Fish, “so AngelShack’s Rocks, Buddies and Sit/Stand Tables are designed to facilitate standing, gathering, conversing and sharing.” It is made to activate spaces where people can touch down and engage instantly, saving time and creating efficiency.

AngelShack’s Charly chairs have under seat storage and a sliding writing tablet – serving as chair, locker and desk at once. They’re on castors, so they provide the freedom of movement that modern workplaces thrive on, while making whoever settles on instantly feel at home with their needs accommodated. At the same time, their ability to move means they can be reconfigured at a moment’s notice to support new demands of the team or individuals needs.

“Such quick and easy transitions are the lifeblood of any flexible and efficient learning space,” concludes Fish “It also means that you can be more efficient with your space. With good design supported by the right kind of furniture that engages people’s creativity, every space can be a learning space if it is intentionally designed to support the teaching and technology in use.”

Working it

AngelShack News - Working It

Workplace wellness has become a topic at the top of the to-tick list. We look at how you can increase yours.

To tie in with Corporate Wellness Week, 2 to 6 July, we draw on AngelShack’s expertise in how to create office spaces that offer reduced noise and increased privacy – with noise the second most common complaint in offices worldwide. We spoke to the award-winning office furniture and accessories manufacturer about ways to combat these challenges.

Plants, plants and more plants: Well-placed plants have proven effective in reducing noise levels in an open office setting. The larger the plant the bigger the impact (not to mention the obvious aesthetic benefits and overall impact on air quality). Nature and the outdoor environment are far more comfortable from an acoustic point of view than indoor spaces and the trick is to bring this insight into the design of indoor spaces such as offices.

Private practise: Use a high-back ladder frame, such as AngelShack’s GameChanger NXT workstation with a customisable privacy screen so that you can get on with your work, without distraction. Employees can also escape to AngelShack’s HIVE, a semi-enclosed booth for one, complete with an ergonomically positioned slide away tray for your laptop and movement controlled lighting above.

The Speak Easy Booth is another total-privacy solution that employees can use to make calls without outside interference. The booth is lined with acoustic foam, a full-length glass door, internal lighting and temperature control, plus a handy shelf for pens and notebooks.

Listen to the waves: “I love working in an open-plan office and feeling connected with the team,” says David Fish, AngelShack’s MD. “However, while the positives are undisputed, noise – ranging from the hum of air-conditioning units to outside traffic, cell phone ring tones and colleagues’ voices – make working out in the open somewhat challenging.”

Clever design principles that allow for sound absorption and diffusion are key. Spaces need to be properly planned in terms of where to position noisy spaces versus quiet spaces, and the introduction of buffers such as acoustic partition systems, screens and facades that prevent noise transfer from one space to another.

AngelShack’s Focus Booth is a fully enclosed capsule that offers solitude from a busy work environment, making it perfect for confidential phone calls and one-on-one meetings. According to Fish, the booth, which is lined with acoustic foam, features a full-length glass door, internal lighting and temperature control.