Star launched this week a new line of products called Star Pod—aimed at the evolving work environment. The self-standing personal work modules accommodate from 1-4 people, and offer varying levels of privacy and other customization options. It’s a product category that represents a growing trend of work environments adopting more modular workspace formats. Three examples below show how these modular workspaces are filling a need when it comes the new work environment.

Hybrid work is creating the need for shared work areas at the office.

A hybrid work model allows for a person to split their work time between the office and home, instead of working out of the office or from home full time. A person might work anywhere from 1-4 days in the office, and work remote or from home for the rest (or vice versa.)

A recent workplace survey conducted by Gensler Research Group revealed that 29% of the people surveyed still worked full time from office, and almost 20% worked partially from the office. And while there was a large majority of the people surveyed who were working full-time from home (52%), only 19% of the people surveyed considered working full time from home their ideal situation. Instead, 29% expressed their ideal work as full time in an office and 52% expressed a preference for a hybrid work situation.

The growing hybrid worker population affects the utilization format of the standard office. As companies offer more hybrid work options for its employees, there are fewer employees spending time in the office. As a result, floor space dedicated to private offices, multiple cubicles, and dedicated personal storage are being rendered unnecessary. Instead, companies are finding better utilization through shared common spaces that an be used by multiple occasional employees. But traditional offices aren’t always easy to reconfigure to a more open or shared format.

Products like the Star Pod allow companies dealing with hybrid work environments to more easily reconfigure and repurpose a space to accommodate more shared work and shared meeting functionality.

Privacy is still desired and an important element in the work environment.

While open offices have become a popular format in today’s modern office, and foster and promote increased collaboration, employees in a Capital One study still expressed a desire for quiet areas for serious focus and concentration as well. The 2019 Staples Workplace Survey showed that more than half of workers think an open office layout invites distractions, and 40% agreed that their office space is too open. But it’s not always easy to reconfigure an open office floorplan for privacy.

That’s where modular workspace products like Star Pod can help. They can easily provide the privacy that people still seek in the midst of an open office floorplan, with minimal re-configuration.

Other virtual and non-traditional office options also play a significant role.

Even as work shifts to modified hybrid work set-ups at the office, and more people work from home, the rise of the freelance and gig economy, along with additional needs for privacy, or mere change in environment continue to keep other virtual office options popular. And essentially any location that has wireless internet access can function as a virtual office for someone. Unfortunately, because many of these alternate virtual offices usually serve a different primary purpose (e.g. a coffee shop,) they’re not usually equipped to provide the privacy for the virtual worker when it’s needed. So the virtual office experience in those scenarios is sometimes lacking.

Products like the Star Pod can play a key role in creating a true virtual office in non-conventional workplaces, because they can provide the missing privacy and dedicated workspace features that these environments are usually missing.

So as you can see, modular workspaces play a vital role in the evolution of the work environment for a number of key reasons. And as a modern worker’s needs continue to expand and diversify, it seems the modular workspace format will continue help the work environment adapt to the new normal of the moment.