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This certainly is an interesting time in the office interior design world. Due to the outbreak COVID-19, businesses have been forced to modify their existing office designs to adhere to safety regulations. Meanwhile, the question of what offices look like in the future has been subject to much conjecture.

As companies have adapted to the “new normal”, we’ve also seen the acceleration of many existing office design trends, most notably in relation to working practices. A few new trends have popped up in response to the pandemic too, including an uplifting colour combination from Pantone designed to keep spirits high.

With the help of our experienced office interior designers, we’ve listed some of the trends that could be finding their way into your workplace in the year ahead. From furniture to wellbeing-boosting elements and more, you’ll find plenty of inspiration here!

Read on for our office design trend predictions for 2021…

Huddle Zones

According to a survey by commercial real estate firm JLL, employees find collaboration difficult when working from home. Conversely, the survey found that 97% of high performers see their office as a place where collaboration is easy.

While video technology has been a godsend during the pandemic, the survey suggests that it isn’t as effective as face-to-face collaboration. Indeed, most people would agree that there’s no substitute for sitting at a boardroom table and hashing out a plan.

So, what does this tell us about the future of office design? We believe that the focus for employers will be on creating spaces that facilitate safe and effective collaboration. This goes hand in hand with the rise of flexible working, where some employees are likely to use the office primarily for collaborative purposes.

With this in mind, huddle zones look set to be a popular office design trend in 2021. Ideal for scheduled meeting sessions and ad-hoc collaboration, huddle zones can be shared workstations, tea points or anywhere employees can get together and share ideas.

For some huddle zone inspiration, take a look at the ultra-collaborative space we created for Hudl here.

Pro-Wellbeing Elements

Every business depends on healthy and productive employees, and given the events of last year, promoting good wellbeing is more important than ever. The good news is that there are plenty of things businesses can do to improve staff wellbeing in 2021.

Here are a few ideas:

Ultimately, happy and healthy employees are key to any successful business. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to review your office in terms of its impact on their wellbeing.

Flexible Office Furniture

Businesses were forced to embrace a lot of change in 2020, and the office space has become a reflection of that. With the government enforcing social distancing regulations and employees returning to work sporadically, many office spaces have been subject to a re-configuration to ensure both safety and functionality.

As businesses continue to adapt to the changes, it’s likely that many will introduce flexible office furniture that allows for easy re-configuration, like wheel-around desks, modular seating and moveable screens. This will be a real benefit to businesses as employees return to office in stages over the course of 2021.

Moreover, as social distancing regulations look set to stay with us for a considerable amount of time, flexible office furniture will make it easier for businesses to adapt their layouts to accommodate the 2m rule.

Given the importance of social distancing, expect flexible furniture to be a big office design trend in 2021.

Looking for some furniture inspiration? Take a look at our projects here

Illuminating and Ultimate Gray: Pantone’s Colours of the Year

For 2021, Pantone has unveiled “Illuminating” and “Ultimate Gray” as its Colours of the Year.

While the experts at Pantone usually only choose one colour, they have gone for two this year to reflect a combined message of happiness and fortitude. “Illuminating” represents happiness with a bright, warm and optimistic yellow imbued with solar power. “Ultimate Gray” reflects fortitude with a solid, dependable colour emblematic of everlasting elements like pebbles on a beach.

Given that fortitude is the strength of mind that enables a person to endure and overcome difficult situations, we love the message Pantone is conveying this year. Following a difficult year, the fusion of optimism and fortitude will help to raise spirits and instil a sense of positivity in 2021.


In 2019, Amnesty International surveyed over 10,000 18-25-year-olds across 22 countries and found that 41% cited global warming as the most important issue facing the world. For businesses making plans to attract future talent, research like this will prove extremely valuable.

Indeed, there’s no denying that global warming is a huge issue, and businesses must do their bit to improve the environment. This, in turn, will help them to cater to a green-conscious workforce and attract new talent in 2021.

Here are a few things they can do:

  • Source Sustainable Furniture – When sourcing furniture, it’s important to look for a manufacturer with an eco-friendly ethos. A responsible manufacturer will hold one or more certificates from recognised bodies, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP).
  • Encourage Cycling – Go-green initiatives can be intrinsically linked to office design. To encourage employees to cycle, it’s a good idea to introduce a storage area for bikes and on-site shower facilities if possible.
  • Buy Eco-Friendly Flooring – There is a multitude of sustainable flooring options out there, including cork, which featured in one of our previous office design trend blogs. Not only is cork an excellent insulator (meaning less money spent on heating), it regenerates itself after harvesting.

We’ve only just scratched the surface with the ideas we’ve listed here. For some more great sustainability tips and ideas, take a look at our blog, How Sustainable is Your Office Design?

Community-Centric Office Design

The fallout from COVID-19 will undoubtedly give rise to more freelancers, so don’t be surprised to see more co-working spaces popping up in 2021. These are shared office spaces that cater to independent workers and small teams. Typically, the members will pay a monthly fee rather than committing to a long-term contract, making co-working a viable alternative to a fixed address.

To cater to everyone’s needs, co-working offices are usually made up of multiple work zones. These include shared workstations, individual pods and boardrooms. Good co-working spaces also provide comfortable lounge areas, and some even offer additional perks like barista style coffee and beer.

The great thing about co-working offices is that they are community centric. Not only can entrepreneurs and small teams mix with like-minded people, but they can also find more work through networking. Some of them even host themed nights where members can get together over a few drinks.

This sense of community can also be created in traditional office spaces. For example, some businesses like to introduce meeting spaces like bars and lounges for in-house events. These work particularly well in big offices, as they provide a place where employees from different departments can mingle. It’s also worth mentioning that 89% of employees think of their colleagues as a second family, so creating these spaces will help to boost morale.

Read also: 5 Cool Coworking Spaces in Kent

The Office as an Experience

The rise of remote working due to COVID-19 has raised an important question: will employees want to go back into the office full time when the pandemic dies down? In some cases, the answer will be no. Many employees may even check to see if a prospective employer offers flexible working first, which could be the difference in attracting (and retaining) talented employees. This will encourage employees working flexible hours to spend more time in the office, while for those working full time, the office will become a suitable substitute for the home environment they’ve been working in throughout 2020.

While some businesses will be open to the idea of offering flexible working, others may not. After all, before the pandemic, most businesses were doing just fine with the traditional model of employees working in an office full time. Whatever a business’s preference, the best way to keep employees happy is to make working in an office an enjoyable experience. To do so, businesses can introduce coffee and vending machines; Resimercial (residential meets commercial) elements like lounges and comfortable furniture; exercise and meditation areas, and even game rooms.

Need some inspiration? Take a look at our case studies here

Videoconferencing Rooms

As remote working looks set to be part of our lives so some time yet, companies will likely configure their spaces to make digital communication easier between those working in the office and those working from home.

For employees working in the office, it can be quite disruptive when a colleague starts chatting on Zoom or Teams, so setting up a dedicated videoconferencing room will solve this issue. Moreover, it will enable private conversations to take place without fear that confidential information will be heard by others.

In addition to the rooms themselves, expect to see more technology that facilitates videoconferencing like screens, webcams and speakers. If you happen to have furniture with integrated power, then this will make it easier to connect the systems up.

Thanks for Reading!

While COVID-19 has disrupted the office interior design world, it has, in some ways, had a positive impact. The trends highlighted here point towards a future where collaboration, community and wellbeing will be the focus of office design.

Additionally, the provision of sustainable elements will help to lower companies’ carbon footprint and improve the environment for future generations.

With all of this considered, the office of tomorrow looks set to be an inspiring place, and if you start making positive changes to your space now, you’ll have employees queuing at the door when the great return to work happens!