Today's startup has the potential to grow at a never-before-seen velocity, but this often comes at the sacrifice of comfortable, productive spaces in the office. Growing your business means quickly having to address a variety of employees' needs you may not have considered: more restrooms, a better break room, a bigger reception area, office perks, and a variety of office furniture to meet different physical abilities. As you grow, so do the options: standing desk or office desk? Acoustic pods? Multiple conference rooms? Who gets a private office and who doesn't?

It's time to think about modular office furniture, which is highly adaptive to the fast-growth workplace. Modular furniture allows you to take certain components, such as desks and filing systems, and combine them to form a variety of workstation layouts.

Here's what you need to consider in order to find a modular furniture layout that's right for your office.

Flexibility in Design

Look for a modular workstation system that can be configured and re-configured into numerous pod layouts. This accommodates activity-based working while maintaining a seamless aesthetic throughout the space.

When outfitting your workstations, don't forget individual needs. Ergonomic accessories, such as monitor arms and keyboard trays, adapt to various body shapes and sizes for maximum comfort and productivity.

Common Sense Clustering

Strategically plan to cluster your staff in departments or cross-departmental project groups with an eye on your future...how many employees do you anticipate you'll need for the Design department, HR, or Product Testing?

You'll also want to take note of where your electrical outlets are located. Make sure your workstation system has an integrated electrical system and ample technology integration capabilities. Identify within your office where your floor and wall electrical junction boxes will need to be installed to line up with your master furniture plan as you grow. The same applies to data drop conduit locations.

Privacy and Security

Anticipate the privacy needs for staff who handle sensitive information and make sure your workstations can accommodate security issues. You also need to have the ability to add or remove privacy screens.

For some companies with only a few coveted private offices, growth means making a full transition to modular workstations. For others, it is simply requires the ability to reconfigure space easily and quickly by implementing a new modular layout. Ensure your company maintains a flexible, modern environment with these five modular furniture layouts.

1. A curved workstation

Curved workstations add a striking (and fun) aesthetic while breaking the traditional "square cube" stereotype.

Not only do they make sense for a bustling, busy office by reducing sharp corners and providing closer body-to-keyboard comfort, they also offer a little more enclosed privacy when arranged the right way. You can adapt this design to have a linear zig-zag center spine and optimize on your commercial real estate.

2. A sit to stand workstation

Research has shown that sitting at a desk for long periods of time can lead to health problems, yet a surprising number of commercial workplaces still reserve their sit to stand desks for executives only, or offer them on a case basis to employees who request them.

This layout offers the mobility employees need to stay sharp and energized. Just make sure their workstation is configured correctly for healthy best practices.

3. A managerial collaborative workstation

Strengthen communication between managerial staff or ease the transition of new employees with a managerial collaborative workstation. This layout is a good fit for two colleagues who need to collaborate regularly on reports or projects and don't need to resort to hovering in cubicles or pinging notifications at each other on Slack.

This can also be a useful layout when you want to quickly align new employees to the company culture. Assign them a workstation with a "mentor" or senior employee, or a fellow new hire so they can hit the ground running with a partner.

4. A minimalist workstation

For commuters or employees that spend a reduced amount of time at their desks, a minimalist workstation can be the perfect fit, when combined with personal storage cabinets or locked filing systems for interchangeable spaces. It also maximizes the line of site across the office, which helps smaller commercial workspaces appear larger.

Use minimalist workstations in your design layout to increase communication, but remain aware of noise issues that may hinder productivity. Install buffers such as acoustic ceiling tiles when necessary.

5. An extended work surface station

Studies show that a messy desk fosters creativity. Encourage innovation among employees by providing the space they need to explore and solve creative problems. An extended work surface is also helpful for impromptu meetings desk-side, reducing the need to book a conference room or seek out first-come, first-serve collaborative spaces.

Despite industry leaders calling for the "death of the cubicle," it's clear that fast-growth start-ups and rapidly scaling businesses will continue to require modular furniture to future-proof their office. Fortunately, there are dozens of refined, smart solutions to meet that growth and help keep the workplace in style.

Published on: Nov 3, 2016