Recently a colleague asked why office planners are suddenly adopting lockers in the workplace, things that are historically confined to schools or sports facilities.

Paul Dare

Head of Design

16th Dec 2014

The way we work, interact, and collaborate is undergoing a transformation, with the focal point being the assigned workstation in the traditional office. Initially, personal offices were seen as space-consuming and costly, serving as status symbols for executives, but they were deemed unnecessary and counterproductive for most.

As a result, organisations shifted towards open environments to facilitate communication and reduce construction costs. However, attention has now turned to personal desk ownership. When analysing workspaces, it's common to find that only a proportion of workstations are occupied at any given time.

Without delving into statistics, the numbers are significant enough to make the financial department question why we're paying rent for a space where everyone can display their family photos with cheesy grins and keep freebie fluffy gonks acquired at the latest trade show.

So, what does this have to do with lockers? Well, as personal space is reduced and the safety net of an assigned desk is removed, it becomes even more important to provide staff with a space for their belongings, both work-related and sentimental. People tend to accumulate things and are reluctant to throw them away unless prompted.

I remember an extreme example of this on a project where we discovered a large collection of catalogues in one person's desk, some of which were over twenty-five years old. What possible purpose could they serve other than as makeshift desk-levelling devices?

Ultimately, people will fill whatever space they are allocated. So, when calculating the required space, it's important to understand what is crucial for their business function and what possessions contribute to their comfort at work.

Out of sight

Positioning a discreet bank of lockers near the main entrance for staff eliminates the need for storage on the new and improved multifunctional flexible work floor, providing safe and secure individual storage. However, for the sake of good hygiene, I would suggest placing food in a fridge and housing smelly sports gear in the shower facility.

To unlock the potential of the new collaborative workspace, lockers will undoubtedly be required. Once staff understand that their position isn't under threat just because they don't have their own desk, they will become more comfortable with the concept of flexible working. Every individual feels more at ease with the idea of a secure base, whether it's an office or an assigned desk. But with space becoming increasingly tight, it's the humble locker that will become even more desirable.