Add a new term to your workplace vocabulary: Neighborhoods. Steelcase has now revealed Steelcase Flex — “an integrated collection of furniture and accessories designed to meet the needs of modern teams and their changing activities. Steelcase Flex creates dynamic team neighborhoods which can be adapted on demand.”
As organizations strive for growth and innovation, Steelcase believes teams need to quickly generate new ideas and solve complex problems. Team-based work is increasing as people now spend 54% of their time working with others, according to new Steelcase global research1. But the nature of teamwork has fundamentally shifted to become more interdependent, fast-paced and fluid. Today’s hyper-collaborative teams have embraced agile and design thinking methodologies to help them move faster and stay more closely connected to their customers. These practices require rapid shifts between diverse activities.
What Teams Need
“Teamwork used to be more like a running a relay, with coordinated handoffs,” said Ken Tameling, Steelcase general manager, global furniture. “Today it’s more like basketball or soccer, as teams have become hyper-collaborative. But despite this dramatic change, most fixed workplaces are still designed to support a more linear work process. Teams need to be empowered to adapt their space for group or individual needs on demand, control their privacy and transition to different work modes while staying in flow.”
The best workplaces support the activities of the team while nurturing the needs of individuals. Teams need a home where they can surround themselves in their project and display their thinking and ideas. They need to be able to quickly switch between collaboration and focused work. And they need control to rearrange their space at any time, on their own.
Steelcase Flex Collection
Starting in 2017, Steelcase researchers observed the daily activities of creative and high-tech teams in North America, Europe and the Middle East. They saw teams who became frustrated and hacked their offices to improve their space—claiming territory with makeshift barricades, repurposing everyday objects to create places for group work and covering walls and ceilings with sticky notes to display information.
These high-performing teams inspired the Steelcase Flex Collection — which includes moveable desks, tables, markerboards, carts, screens and accessories. Wheels, directional rollers and glides make all the elements easy to move.
Anyone can easily reconfigure its pieces and adjust boundaries and screens to provide the right amount of privacy for team and individual needs.
“To collaborate and work in new ways, teams need flexibility to change how and where they work,” said Tameling. “We designed the Steelcase Flex Collection to deliver just the right amount of control to individuals and teams, letting people reconfigure their spaces in a matter of minutes. Each piece works well on its own, but just like a team, they work better together.”
New Research: Teams Are Struggling
Steelcase also conducted global research to understand the broader needs of hyper-collaborative teams around the world and found that 90% of workers believe working with others is essential to creating new and better ideas. People who work in teams are positive about collaboration activities overall but also feel their workplaces and technology don’t fully support the new ways they’re working. The study revealed:
Most environments do not support hyper-collaboration:
70% of people are still trying to collaborate in traditional fixed conference rooms;
81% of collaborative work is scheduled; only 19% say their collaboration is at least somewhat spontaneous;
68% say they struggle to stay focused amid distractions; and
62% of people are unable to move their furniture to support changing activities, while the majority would like this feature.
Steelcase Flex is designed to address these research findings about the needs of today’s fast-paced, flexible teams.
Steelcase Flex Collection seamlessly integrates with Steelcase® Roam™ which gives workers the freedom to collaborate virtually anywhere. Made for the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S, Steelcase® Roam™ Mobile Stand and easy-to-hang wall mounting system gives people the freedom to collaborate wherever their ideas take them.
Steelcase Flex Collection is expected to be available in summer 2019 in North America, fall 2019 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and late 2019 in Asia -Pacific.
Discover how Steelcase Flex can be configured to support different types of teams by visiting www.steelcase.com/360-flex.