The Latest Office Design Trends

The modern workplace is a constantly evolving space, and it’s one of the most important factors in the success of a business. Holly Emma writes for Business Zone, “The understanding of what design elements create a more productive and positive workplace is always developing, and in turn, influences the ways companies design their offices and spaces.”

Emma continues, “While some trends are only fleeting, employee well-being, collaborative and flexible work spaces, brand authenticity, and innovative use of technology have all become integral parts of the modern working environment – here are some of the latest office design trends.”

Flexible working spaces

“One of the most frequently heralded and touted innovations in office design has been the advent of the flexible working space; in recent years, this concept has evolved into something far more intricate and informed than a simple, open plan office.”

“The concept at the center of these designs is the understanding that many modern industries now require staff to undertake a wide variety of different tasks, many of which are best completed in certain conditions. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of this, and are now dedicating specific spaces for specific purposes.”

“Silent, individual working zones (or even individual ‘pods’), small and large collaborative areas, outdoor spaces, and other cellular workstations are becoming more commonplace, as are ‘hot desk’ setups – and increasingly there seems to be a move towards a more cozy, ‘homey’ aesthetic, to make these more appealing.”

“The term ‘flexible’ has also taken on new meaning. This is no longer solely applicable to the way that work spaces are used, but also how they are physically designed. Many companies are implementing furnishings, desks, and other installations that can be easily reorganized or reconfigured. It would be accurate to say that work spaces aren’t just becoming more flexible, they’re becoming adaptable, in line with the needs of staff.”

Integrated Technology

“Possibly the most significant office design trend to emerge in recent memory, and arguably the one that will gain the most traction and develop most rapidly, is the integration of digital technology into the physical work space.”

“‘Smart offices’, as they are dubbed, have emerged as some of the most innovative work spaces. By integrating software and hardware in the work space, it’s now possible for businesses to manage almost any aspect of their physical working environment centrally.”

“Almost anything can be controlled remotely – from temperature and light levels, to room bookings and calendar management (there are even sensors that can detect coffee spillages/damages, and signal the attention of a cleaner or maintenance official). Smart technology is streamlining the workplace, and helping offices run as smoothly as possible.”

Well-being in the workplace

“A trend that has not just made waves in the world of office design, but in countless areas of modern life, is wellness. The pursuit of health and well-being has huge ramifications when it comes to the workplace. Employee sickness costs the UK economy £15 billion every year, so the health and wellness of employees is now a priority in many office designs.”

“Simple adjustments, like including stations which offer staff free fruit, veg, or healthy snacks, are becoming increasingly popular, but some businesses are taking things a step further. Offering employees onsite gyms or exercise facilities, and even investing in things like biophilic design – architecture designed with wellness and sustainability in mind – is becoming more commonplace for large companies, with elaborate installations like ‘living walls’ now a visible element in several workplaces.”

“One of the biggest priorities for employee wellness in the workplace is natural light – traditional, cubicle-based office spaces typically don’t expose staff to a lot of natural light throughout the day, and with the amount of time we spend at work taken into consideration, this can be detrimental to our circadian rhythms, sleep patterns, and overall health.”

“It’s now common to see large windows and other architectural glazing features included in office design – and it’s reaffirming to see that this is being taken seriously, both by the businesses implementing these designs, and the companies offering them. Glazing firms are conducting research into the importance of natural light, using cutting edge technology to ensure inhabitant well-being is factored into their designs – and it’s telling that many of these firms now describe their products and services as ‘glass solutions’.”

Making work spaces integral to brands

“Significantly, many businesses are now recognizing other opportunities that office design provides – it’s not just a source of potentially huge benefit to the productivity and well-being of the workforce, but also a fantastic way to galvanise the culture and brand of a company.”

“Businesses have become acutely aware of the link between office culture and the development of a company brand, and the ways that office design can influence this. The key thing is that branding is now understood to be something that emerges and develops naturally as a result of company culture, rather than a label that is decided upon and attached.”

“As a result, it’s becoming commonplace to see businesses using office spaces to ‘tell their brand story’ – with colour schemes, artwork, and overall aesthetic tied into the brand itself. Some companies are being particularly innovative and displaying things like early products and photographs, so that visitors to the office are given a sense of the development and spirit of the business.”

“What’s most telling about all of these trends is the central focus point that has led to their development. While in the past office spaces have often been governed by things like cost-effectiveness and adherence to traditional designs, things are changing. The logic behind many emerging trends is now focused mainly on one thing – the support of employees.”

“This has been made possible largely due to the much deeper understanding of workplace effectiveness we now have. Years of research have illuminated what helps people to work more productively and effectively, and how to be happier and more engaged at work – and it’s this knowledge that businesses are tapping into to inform their decisions about office design.”

“As new technology emerges, and a new generation of employees enters the work space, their expectations are different from their seniors – and businesses are finding ways to ensure that from the moment they walk into their offices, their needs are being met in the most efficient ways.”

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