Our leaning towards flexible workspaces means less rigid space and more informal, dual-purpose areas. Rather than set desks and set departments, the fluctuating nature of freelancers and the adoption of agile workings means soft seating is favoured and it has to work incredibly hard.

Break free from the boardroom

MPL Interiors has worked on a number of commercial office refurbishments where the client has specified a shift towards more break out areas. Rather than just give staff additional places to relax, this requirement has productivity at its heart. Informal areas are designed to enhance engagement and foster collaboration in the shift from formal boardroom meetings to more unstructured gatherings in comfortable spots.

Soft seating is conducive to comfortable, creative thinking but before you order 20 beanbags, there are a number of considerations that should be thought over with an office fit-out specialist.

Top 4 soft seating considerations

1. Ergonomics – bean bags are OK if you want employees lounging around doing lots of ‘blue-sky thinking’ but they’re not great for posture. Think about the tasks you want people to be undertaking and how their bodies will be supported.

2. Arrangement – the careful placement of soft seating can create different zones within an open plan office – a good layout plan will help you achieve the right balance of formal and informal seating.

3. Durability – agile working often sees a constant flow of people using break out zones and that can put pressure on soft seating. Consideration needs to be given to the upholstery fabric and the colours that are chosen so they last and continue to look good.

4. Types of seating and commercial office furniture – armchairs, upholstered booths, sofas, cubes, stools, benches, modular seating office furniture​ and even hammocks – the list of options are extensive, so professional guidance is crucial if you want to avoid making expensive mistakes.

If you’d like the answers to commonly-asked seating questions, including ‘should my office chair have armrests?’ ‘are employers required to provide ergonomic chairs?’ and ‘how deep should office chairs be?’, please ask MPL Interiors.

We can also use our 2D space plans and 3D visuals to shape the perfect seating set-up. This allows us and our clients to manipulate soft seating configurations - and change seating styles and colours – so the best fit is achieved - and before.