This past year has seen the continuation of three strong trends dominating office interior design and they will likely continue to shape much of 2018 too. While some design trends come and go, these are likely to have more longevity because they reflect the way we work and our daily lifestyles.
If your company is thinking about an office redesign or relocation, the following three trends are a good starting point for exploring how your office design aligns with your workplace strategies. CBS Office Interiors discusses the trends further.
#1: Promoting wellbeing through office design
While companies are using many strategies to boost wellbeing in the workplace, such as gym memberships, free fruit and healthy snacks, and cycle to work schemes, the office environment is just as important.
The use of natural light and fresh air is beneficial to health and wellbeing, and these natural resources can be captured through clever design elements such as light wells or biophilic design. Biophilic design connects us with nature and includes design features such as living walls that not only make us feel better emotionally, but also help to filter the air we breathe.
Another key way to promote wellbeing in the workplace is by thinking about how to make it a less sedentary environment. Getting employees out of their seats and moving about is good for their physical health, as well as being an effective way to boost productivity by helping people re-energise and re-focus. It’s also good for mental health too, by facilitating interactions and socialisation, and reducing the feelings of isolation that desk-bound employees can experience.
#2. A home from home
Designing third space solutions, such as collaborative meeting pods and high back booths, helps to provide a focal point in the workspace; somewhere for informal meetings between colleagues to take place, individuals to work from on their laptops or tablets, or just somewhere to relax and take stock. These more informal areas create a family vibe that can make the office space feel more inclusive and even remove some of the hierarchical barriers between different employees.
There has also been a general softening of many of the finishes used in the office space, which supports this domestic trend. A more tactile use of textiles and natural finishes combines ‘home comforts’ with biophilic design. For example, Scandinavian styling also uses lots of natural wood and timber to bring nature into the office environment.
#3: Agile spaces for agile working practices
Digitalisation has changed how many companies operate and this has also changed the modern workspace. Not everyone needs a traditional workstation with a desk, chair and computer reserved for their exclusive use. Some people only need this kind of set up for a few hours a day, and have the flexibility to work wherever they can get connected to the WiFi or the company intranet.
This trend is also being driven by a new generation of employees. Millennials are used to this more agile and flexible way of working, and are generally more digitally savvy, having experienced it at college or university. They don’t necessarily expect their own desk in the workplace, being adept at working anywhere with connectivity.
Collaborative spaces for brainstorming and working together, hotdesks for flexible working, informal meeting areas – such as the large comfy sofa – have changed the way office floor space is used. As a result some companies no longer need as much space to accommodate every employee all of the time and therefore can look to reduce overheads by relocating to smaller sites, or use redundant office space for other activities.