The office is stereotyped as a drab place with outdated tech and uncomfortable cubicles, but that doesn’t have to be the reality. In fact, it’s more productive for offices to be vibrant spaces that encourage teamwork and creativity.
Many employers agree, prompting a new approach to the traditional workspace. In fact, décor is constantly evolving as we better understand the effects of the working environment on employees. As a result, new design trends pop up every year — some that are here to stay and others that are just a passing fad.
So how do you know which trends to pay attention to? Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. As you plan your next renovation, here are a few office design trends to keep an eye on.
Believe it or not, greenery can have a huge impact on employees’ output and mental health. Living plants create oxygen, and higher oxygen levels can boost productivity. Seeing thriving plants can also reduce stress, leading to a happier workforce.
Worried about the cost of maintaining plants? You can put your mind at ease, as there are plenty of options that require minimal watering and trimming:
- Lemon balm
- Spider plant
- Bamboo palm
Adaptive Office Furniture
We know from years of studies that sitting for eight hours isn’t great for the human body. Fortunately, the adjustable desk has become a staple in most offices, allowing employees to sit or stand according to their comfort.
However, some companies are taking the term “adaptive” to the next level. Reclining chairs and angled screens are fast becoming an integral part of workplace design.
Who says the workplace needs to feel sterile? Designers are introducing residential touches to make the office feel more welcoming:
- Kitchen islands
The theory is, if people want to come to work, they’ll be more productive. This idea has proven true to some extent.
The more inviting atmosphere of quasi-residential spaces encourages teammates to socialize, forming bonds that benefit the group. Companies that have made this décor shift also noticed a boost in morale.
What if you could adapt space on the fly? The modular office is a take on the Dynamic Space movement that combines open space with creativity to meet a variety of needs.
An open office is excellent for encouraging communication and employee connection but lacks privacy. Individuals who need to focus on a particular project may find this stressful and require a more isolated area to complete their work. Modular furniture allows you to provide this space with moving walls and portable furniture temporarily.
Color has the incredible power to influence people’s moods; with this in mind, workplace designers are moving away from drab beige and introducing more vibrant hues. The most recent trend to play with color is monochrome themes.
Does “monochrome” mean everything is painted black and white? Not necessarily. When approaching monochrome themes, most designers choose several shades of a particular hue, providing variety without the danger of clashing.
You’re probably not surprised to see that future office design will incorporate even more technology. For example, many companies are using digital assistants to coordinate team efforts or manage conference room scheduling. Cloud access also allows employees to access their work from a variety of locations and devices, providing opportunities to diversify their workspaces.
Gathering in-person is increasingly unnecessary — as long as all attendees have internet access, you can meet pretty much anywhere. Considering this, what will happen to boardrooms?
Designers are taking the opportunity to reimage these spaces for other uses. Eliminating them isn’t the best option, as you never know when you’ll need to host a large meeting, so they’re being turned into multipurpose rooms instead. Modular furniture can help here, as it allows for the creation of large tables for meetings and smaller areas for breakout gatherings.
Nowadays, where your furniture comes from is just as important as what it can do for you. Are the materials sustainably obtained? Is the manufacturer ethical in its treatment of employees? Purchasing power has a huge impact on how humans treat the planet and each other, and individuals expect their employers to share their values. Fortunately, the design and décor market is well aware of this, and many companies have changed their processes with sustainability and ethics in mind.
If you’re not sure what furniture best suits your office, you can experiment with rental options. Many companies offer a variety of items for rent:
- Cubicle dividers
Rentals may also be a good option if your current space is short-term — why invest in a bunch of furniture that may not fit your new location?
Alternatively, businesses that want to own their furniture but also want cheap options may consider second-hand office equipment. Second-hand items have typically seen light wear and are of the same quality as brand new equipment, but much more affordable.
One of the biggest workspace design trends right now is making bold choices. This may mean a uniquely shaped table as the focal point of a meeting room, a bright mural along the wall, or a reimagined reception area. Bold choices give a space character and can even contribute to employees’ focus, productivity, and morale.
We’ve talked about the issue with privacy when it comes to an open office, but we haven’t discussed all the solutions. While modular furniture is a great option, designers have another solution to offer: privacy pods.
These extreme cubicles are soundproof and distraction-free, letting employees work on projects that require focus or confidentiality. Additionally, the economic size allows these structures to be tucked practically anywhere.
Another major trend is incorporating outdoor areas into the traditional office layout. One popular option is to have sliding doors that allow workers to move freely between the interior and exterior spaces. Open-air and natural light have been shown to improve morale and increase productivity, making them a must for new workplaces. It’s important to note that these outdoor areas aren’t for breaks or socializing — they are strictly for work.
More Natural Light
Even if you don’t open literal doors, you should find a way to provide employees with natural light. Large windows are a popular way to do this, as they also provide beautiful views, but you can instead opt for skylights. Fluorescent light can be harsh and interfere with the human body’s natural rhythms, leading to headaches, eye strain, and drowsiness. Allowing in natural light is an easy way to support workers through their environment.
The newest office design trends prove you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality. Here at Ellicott Development, we embrace the same idea and offer a variety of commercial properties for employers in search of an office building. Additionally, our skillful management team ensures that tenants are treated with the utmost care. For more information or to inquire about available properties, contact us online or give us a call at 716-854-0060.
Featured Image: Zastolskly Victor / Shutterstock