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…
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.
Research has suggested that an office worker in 20 years time will have a hunched back, protruding stomach and sore eyes which a model named Emma was used to show the result of a sedentary lifestyle and an uncomfortable, unpractical working environment. Read our blog post about that here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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