Over the past decade, the workplace has continually evolved and adapted to new work styles, whether breaking down the walls for an open-plan office, adding unassigned spaces for hotdesking or offering open areas for informal meetings. As mobile technology continues to have a strong presence, workers are spending less and less time at their desks. A study completed in 2016 by global technology research firm Gartner Group found that with the rise of wireless technology, employees are spending only 40% of their time at their designated workstations.
Whether employees are choosing to work remotely or in quiet, private spaces, designers have responded by reinventing alternate breakaway spaces that are compact and flexible, and encourage collaboration, socialisation and productivity. While breakaway spots are not a new phenomenon, earlier iterations were defined by task chairs and awkward structures that were more of an afterthought than a key feature in the office.
New materials and construction are reshaping how breakaway zones are being perceived and designers are shifting their attention to creating efficient products that are relevant to the growing number of remote workers. Previously, these areas emphasised the social and teamwork aspects, but in the digitally driven landscape, employees need an effective workplace for solo tasks but with the flexibility to open up into collaborative areas.
At NeoCon earlier this year, Boss Design unveiled Mango, a new personal workspace that features a high wrap-around wall for acoustic privacy. The upholstered screen creates a cosy nook that blocks out the external noise of the office and has the option of adding an additional front panel for a more enclosed experience.