A new era in the workplace with Herman Miller

Apr 6, 2022
  • Article by Charlotte Huston

Australian workplaces are adapting to life post-global pandemic and Herman Miller is right there beside them with its new collection OE1.

The market is responding and learning that whether working from home, in the office or collaborating via a hybrid arrangement, adaptability and versatility are essential.

OE1 was designed in response to this new normal, helping people experiment with space, discover what works in the moment and change rapidly for the future.

The OE1 Workspace collection is primed for the future workplace.

Launched in Australia at the end of November 2021, the new collection features an array of communal and individual tables, walls, screens and accessories. With its multifunctional designs and mobile elements, OE1 helps organisations optimise their real estate by transforming underutilised areas into agile, hard-working workspaces.

Whether you’re using individual pieces or the entire collection, it’s designed to seamlessly fit into floor plates, amplifying and optimising your existing spaces – or creating totally new ones.

Never playing by the rules, Herman Miller provides designers with the ultimate freedom to not just respond to immediate needs, but also adapt to future trends, whether that be in space, size or staff.

To find out more about the shifts expected for the Australian workplace in 2022 and beyond, ADR reached out to three of the country’s biggest practices.

Davenport Campbell

Davenport Campbell associate Sean Willcock.

ADR: What is the future of workplaces in Australia and New Zealand?

Willcock: I think we’re experiencing a massive generational shift and digital transformation – and we’re not at the tail end of it. We’re going to see opportunities in how people and the digital world grow together and reinvent the workspace. We spent the first two years of the pandemic trying to replicate the office. Now we want to replicate the home into our office.

ADR: Many companies are looking to implement a hybrid model. How can employers be more adaptable?

Willcock: I think more than anything empathy for the individual has taken precedence over the last two years. We’re starting to understand that everyone’s lives are different. The best thing employers can do is ensure everyone’s getting equitable treatment, but then also allow flexibility for people to shape their role.

ADR: How can Herman Miller’s OE1 collection support this process?

Willcock: Designing flexibility into our work environments is going to be a key driver moving forward. We want team members to know they can customise any space in order to optimise its use. Furniture solutions will be at the forefront of this, and designing timeless, intuitive collections will give users confidence to craft the workplace they want to inhabit.

ADR: How can companies work with furniture brands like Herman Miller to create flexible products for their employees?

Willcock: More than anything, it’s about communication of need. We know a much more customised solution helps people realise that every company has its own identity. It’s no longer a onesize- fits-all approach.

BVN

BVN principal Bill Dowzer.
BVN principal Sally Campbell.

What is the future of workplaces in Australia and New Zealand?

Dowzer & Campbell: You can be a leader in the workplace because everything’s up for grabs. Organisations are generally curious about how they will work in a hybrid manner and what that will mean for them moving forward. That will change how they come together, the size of the office footprint, leadership styles and office designs.

Many companies are looking to implement a hybrid model. How can employers be more adaptable?

Dowzer & Campbell: We often talk about the opportunity to install rather than construct in terms of fitout. The opportunity is that users can actually be involved in forming the right setting. It’s about having a big picture idea by limiting construction and looking for flexible opportunities

How can Herman Miller’s OE1 collection support this process?

Dowzer & Campbell: Designers often talk more about settings than furniture. A setting is made up by pieces of furniture for a specific setting. So we think it’s important to remember furniture is not fixed and can be replaced to suit a multitude of needs and provide the experiences you can’t find in the home.

How can companies work with furniture brands like Herman Miller to create flexible products for their employees?

Dowzer & Campbell: Furniture companies now have the chance to think differently about the idea of a serviced environment. They should start viewing themselves as service providers rather than product providers. That way they can work alongside the companies to understand how they work or the types of settings that would be most appropriate.

GROUP GSA

Group GSA principal Sonja Duric.

What is the future of workplaces in Australia and New Zealand?

Duric: As workplace designers, we ask, what innovations will the pandemic create for workplace design? We believe the size of workplaces will be reconsidered based on the, somewhat forced, realisation that working from home can be an effective and comfortable option for many.

Many companies are looking to implement a hybrid model. How can employers be more adaptable?

Duric: Workplaces won’t need to be as large, as workers will be empowered to work from home. Digital dependence is higher than before the crisis. And agility and mobility in the workplace will be more widely accepted and desired as we move towards comfort-based working.

How can Herman Miller’s OE1 collection support this process?

Duric: OE1 deftly addresses the future shift of work by being about ease and speed of change. In our own research, we have surmised that workplaces need to expand, contract and change easily (and this has been compounded by the pandemic). Users must have control over their environments. That is exactly what OE1 does in a beautifully designed way.

How can companies work with furniture brands like Herman Miller to create flexible products for their employees?

Duric: Working with progressive furniture designers like Herman Miller means that designers on the ground, who have a practical insight into user demands and requirements, can influence the demand and type of products.

Product photography courtesy of Herman Miller. 

Discover the new OE1 Workplace Collection on the Herman Miller website.

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