The modern workplace continues to evolve and adapt, moving away from the traditional layouts of old. These changes have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and the subsequent return-to-work effort; as employers seek ways to entice employees back to the office, they have rethought many of their pre-existing ideas about what constitutes an inviting, productive work environment.
Today’s workplace designers must contend with the rise of hybrid and remote work, all while cultivating spaces that might be more appealing to a younger generation of employees. Their imperative is to improve employee engagement and retention in an increasingly competitive economy, all while providing flexible spaces that meet diverse business needs.
As office designers pursue these goals, a handful of trends have emerged.
Important Trends in Office Design
1) Biophilic Design
One of the most noteworthy trends in the workplace is biophilic design. Biophilic office design takes the human need for a connection with nature and applies it to the workplace to boost productivity and wellbeing; essentially, it’s all about helping employees enjoy a greater sense of connection to the natural world, even when they’re at their desk or cubicle.
More specifically, biophilic workplaces are designed to reflect the local environment, creating a sense of symbiosis between nature and the physical workspace. This is done in a number of ways:
- The introduction of more plants into office spaces.
- Office furniture choices that mimic the shapes and textures of the natural world, providing comfort, flexibility, and most importantly, a connection to the outdoors.
- An abundance of natural lighting (again, mimicking the feel of being outside).
- The inclusion of indoor water elements and other nature-inspired pieces.
2) Agile and Flexible Workspaces
In many workplaces, hybrid work is becoming the norm: An increasingly large number of employees divide their time between the office and their individual homes, venturing into the traditional work environment perhaps a couple of days each week or on an as-needed basis. This is forcing Facilities Managers to consider how office space can be used in different ways to accommodate the new working environment.
This trend encompasses new hoteling (or hot desking) policies. For example:
- Hoteling software can be used to help employees reserve the workspace they need.
- This software can also be an asset to facilities teams as they manage demand for physical workspaces.
- Hoteling software can aggregate data for a high-level visibility of space usage and cost containment, while reporting features help forecast space usage and manage space for cost efficiency.
Trends like this help to ensure collaborative, agile workspaces that can be easily reconfigured to meet the evolving needs of a workforce. Meanwhile, mobile furniture pieces, which can be moved or installed without the use of tools, make it easy to transform a space for big group meetings or for more quiet, individualized work environments.
3) Office Art and Graphics
A final trend worth noting: Interior designers increasingly focus on graphic and art to help visually communicate the company’s values and culture. This presents a way for the company to communicate with employees, while also providing a creative opportunity for designers and business leaders.
Common examples of how office designers are using art and graphics include:
- Inspirational quotes.
- Images that reflect the local community and/or the outdoors.
- Images that subtly reflect or reinforce company values.
Navigating a Changing Workplace
The workplace is evolving at a rapid pace. For your facilities management team to keep pace, it’s important to have the right partners to support you. With any questions about relocation or logistics, don’t hesitate to contact Corovan directly.