Flexible Furniture Compliments the Evolving Needs of Healthcare Facilities

Demands and regulations in healthcare continue to evolve, requiring change-ready flexible design. bkm OfficeWorks is a dedicated expert with hundreds of trusted partners nationwide. These manufacturers and suppliers study, design, and craft top-of-the-line furniture for healthcare facilities. We offer high-quality, durable and affordable furnishings for hospitals, doctors offices, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. Our in-depth understanding of flexibility and its relationship to design is what places us at the forefront for office furniture dealers.

The following material was created in collaboration with Steelcase and their review of flexibility in healthcare facilities, titled FleXX: A Study of Flexibility in Outpatient Settings.

Flexible Design for Modern Healthcare Furniture

Flexibility is oftentimes categorized as manipulatable, scalable, and interchangeable to meet the demands for change; however, the definition of flexible wavers because it is dependent on who answers the question. When healthcare providers were asked to define flexibility, they broke it down into three different terminologies based on the department they worked in.

  • Nurse managers: They described flexibility in operational terms, as in the ability to pivot to patient and employee needs.
  • Healthcare administrators: They described this in organizational terms, with references to the industry’s market and community.
  • Facility managers: They described flexibility in technical terms, such as technology with multi-use capabilities.

While the definitions are different, the commonality is that flexible designs are needed to support the fluctuating changes within healthcare. Incorporating flexibility is an operational strategy for the short and long term, making this a key element for high-quality sustainable design. There are four concepts that healthcare furniture manufacturers base their flexible designs off of, according to the FleXX report.

  • Versatility: The ability for a space or object to be able to adapt to different functions, giving the user the choice on how to use it.
    • Example: Healthcare waiting room furniture can be used in other rooms, such as meeting rooms or personal office space.
  • Modifiability: The ability to manipulate a space or object by having it be intuitive and user-friendly. This is the most common method to create flexibility within a space.
    • Example: Many of the tables in our Steelcase Flex Collection allow for furniture to be rearranged within the space on demand. Furniture is designed for spontaneity.
  • Convertibility: When a space can be repurposed for another need with minor renovation. This concept can reduce costs in an organization, but requires careful planning to ensure mechanical, electrical, and plumbing associations can be flexible enough to support convertibility.
    • Example: Converting a room to accommodate more than one patient during high-volume periods such as COVID lockdowns.
  • Scalability: This allows the space or object to expand and contract as needed with minor or major renovation. This is the most complex concept and can require expertise to weave it into design.
    • Example: When a large meeting room can be split into two smaller rooms with a room divider.

The Investment of Furniture for Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare facilities are designed to last for up to 50 years. Flexible concepts include initial upfront costs; however, they can allow facility owners to stay up-to-date on technical and service trends, ultimately saving time and money in the long term. Studies prove that healthcare facilities are willing to invest more if it produces a greater return through client satisfaction, increased productivity, and the ability to have multiple options.

Looking to invest in your healthcare facility for the long term? Contact us to discuss flexible designs for your healthcare or laboratory space.