The Easiest Office Redesign Ever

Oct. 5, 2018

These modular partitions are portable, affordable and easy to reconfigure with a few basic tools.


Need to reconfigure an office? Modular partitions let you create cubicles, private offices and even conference rooms that can be moved around at a moment’s notice.

“Older systems are bulky, heavy and tough to take apart,” explains Ian Borden, a sales representative for Arnold’s Office Furniture, which manufactures the SUNLINE cubicle system.

“Modular systems are easy to take apart and move into different rooms or offices if you need to. We just had a project where it was arranged in a straight row against the wall and they wanted to change that into a plus-shaped configuration in the center of the room, so we sent out a few different panels and connecting posts and they assembled it themselves,” he continues.

Valerie Dennis Craven chats for a few minutes with Ian:


Key Benefits of Movable Partitions

In addition to rapid reconfigurability, modular partitions are an easy way to gain these benefits:

  • Better acoustics. Open plan workspaces are notoriously noisy, and it’s difficult to remediate the noise issue without installing permanent walls. Use glass or fabric partitions to cut down on the noise in open workspaces and experiment with different layouts until you get it just right, explains manufacturer IMT Modular Partitions.
  • Quick and easy remodeling. Switch out some of the partition panels for different materials and colors to update spaces easily. Changing the fabric colors on the partitions is an easy way to visually distinguish teams, departments or neighborhoods to help with wayfinding.
  • More natural light. Glass partitions let light penetrate further into your building’s core instead of restricting it to the perimeter. Use clear glass panels at the top and frosted glass or fabric at the bottom to maximize daylight while still protecting each person’s privacy.

Many movable partition systems can be installed with your own in-house facilities team.

SUNLINE, for example, requires just one or two employees, a drill and five screws. “About 50 percent of our customers install it themselves,” Borden adds. “That saves thousands of dollars on installation.”

How to Choose Movable Partitions

Specify the right partitions for your workspace by assessing your organization’s needs. Many movable partition manufacturers offer different panel types and accessories depending on typical work tasks. VARIDESK’s QuickFlex Walls, for example, come in clear glass, frosted glass and whiteboard versions that are easy to pop out and exchange when a new employee moves in.

The best part?If you discover after the installation that you should have chosen a different color, height or texture, a change is just a few minutes away. Pop out the wrong panel and slide the new one into place without breaking a sweat.

Survey employees to see what they need to do their jobs well, then specify accessories to go with your panels depending on typical work tasks. Besides the whiteboard versions of partitions, you can often bundle filing cabinets, work surfaces, railing, shelving, sit-stand desks and other add-ons. Use extra panels and railings to create storage areas or assist with navigation.

“We use them to create hallways throughout our office because we have a big open floor plan,” explains Andrea McLaughlin, director of public relations for VARIDESK, which offers the QuickFlex Walls movable partition system.

[Read also: Hot Desking - Convert to a Flexible Co-working Office Space]

Panel height is another important consideration, Borden explains. Stack panels closer to the ceiling to make private offices or opt for a lower version. “The standard is about 53 inches high, but we have 2-, 3- and 4-foot panels so that you can make any dimension and height that you want,” Borden adds.

The best part? If you discover after the installation that you should have chosen a different color, height or texture, a change is just a few minutes away. Pop out the wrong panel and slide the new one into place without breaking a sweat.

Two hand-picked articles to read next:

About the Author

Janelle Penny | Editor-in-Chief at BUILDINGS

Janelle Penny has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with a special emphasis on covering facilities management. She aims to deliver practical, actionable content for facilities professionals.

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