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London office with 2021 trends in its interior design London office with 2021 trends in its interior design

Office Design Trends and Ideas for 2021

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Rap Interiors

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.

breakout area for the hudl office fit out in london breakout area for the hudl office fit out in london

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:

Biophilia

Spending time in a green space can have a number of health benefits, including improved mood and reduced stress levels.

By bringing the outside into your office with living walls, moss features and plants, businesses can create a tranquil space that will lift their employees’ moods.

Colony office furniture solutions and a living wall Colony office furniture solutions and a living wall

Natural Light

Natural light boosts Vitamin D, wards off depression and improves sleep, all of which contribute to the wellbeing of employees.

In addition to windows, swapping sun blocking walls for glass partitions and installing skylights can help to bring in more natural light.

Ergonomic Furniture

Another way to boost wellbeing is to introduce furniture that benefits employees’ physical health.

These days, businesses can buy height-adjustable desks to improve posture, kneeling chairs endorsed by chiropractors, and task chairs specifically sculptured for back support.

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.

Emma: the office worker of the future Emma: the office worker of the future

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.

A meeting room with Scandinavian style office furniture and wooden flooring A meeting room with Scandinavian style office furniture and wooden flooring

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.

Sustainability

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:

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.

a contemporary co-working fit out with a meeting pod and imitation brick wall a contemporary co-working fit out with a meeting pod and imitation brick wall

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.

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.

Questor Insurance – Design and Fit Out Project in Maidstone – Rap Interiors – UK Fit Out Contractors Questor Insurance – Design and Fit Out Project in Maidstone – Rap Interiors – UK Fit Out Contractors

Videoconferencing Rooms

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!

A shared office space with flexible furniture A shared office space with flexible furniture

Are You in Need of an Office Design Company?

Has our office design trends 2021 list inspired you to make changes to your space?

If so, then Rap Interiors can help.

Rap’s dedicated team of in-house designers, project managers and skilled tradespeople has vast experience in transforming workspaces across London and the UK.

To book a free consultation, call 0333 600 1234, email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk or fill out the form below.

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