Once offices were designed to fit the largest amount of people in the smallest amount of space. They were basically production lines reinterpreted for people with typewriters.
The nature of work has changed and with it the office design. Today’s office is not about paper pushing. Instead, employees – across all industries – are valued for their knowledge, individualism and creativity.
But, the office is not like your living room. Simply switching up the furniture because you’re bored with the initial design is inefficient and unproductive. It’s now time to update 2018, but do so in the best interest of your company and employees.
Here are some of today’s top office design trends and how they can benefit your business.
Biophilic Design: A New Twist on Being Green
Being in nature can help people feel calm, creative, happy and healthy. That’s why biophilic design is one of the biggest trends for the new year. Biophilia is defined as “the urge to affiliate with nature and other forms of life.” Biophilic design brings in natural elements, such as rooftop gardens, water features, natural wall dividers comprised of bamboo or wood and natural lighting. This trend brings the benefits of nature into the office environment.
“Going Green” is also a component of biophilic design. More buildings are going to start incorporating renewable energy sources, air purification systems, carbon offsets and green web hosting. They are also paying attention to sustainable and local food sources for cafeterias and lounges. Finally, more building owners will be trying for environmental certifications, like LEED and GRESB. Each of these accreditations has its own specific focus, but both signify that a building is dedicated to using less energy and emitting less carbon.
Tearing Down Barriers to Success
Isaac Newton said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” A couple of hundred years later, office design is catching up to him.
Walls are becoming a thing of the past. As mentioned above, more and more dividers are being made out of wood or bamboo as opposed to stucco. But even those are few are far between, as enclosed meeting rooms and cubicles open up into collaborative workspaces and meeting areas.
Often equipped with comfortable seating and whiteboards or touchscreens, these open, collaborative spaces are centrally located around an office to encourage usage. In fact, their location, ease of use and visibility are essential to their success.
Some companies may find that walls are a necessity, just not all they time. So, they are opting for a dynamic design.
These flexible layouts utilize modular furniture, mobile room dividers and other lightweight pieces to make it easy to transform the work area as needed. For example, a portion of a collaborative work area can become a private meeting room by wheeling around some moveable wall dividers and some whiteboards. Remove those features, pull in some additional seating and this same area can become a place to socialize after work.
Businesses are constantly in flux. Dynamic designs enable workspaces to adapt to those fluctuations.
Going a step beyond collaborative and dynamic, unconventional designs try to make the office a homier environment. Picture a rumpus room: beanbag chairs, shag rugs on the floor, plants, wooden-spool tables and warm colors.
Often these areas are places that have been overlooked in the past – nooks and crannies that may have been storage. It’s an efficient use of the office space while enabling employees to work how they like.
This homey design extends to some of the comforts that are being offered, such as fireplaces, game rooms, beer and wine, gyms with showers and more. It’s all about making the office – or places within the office – much more comfortable and laid-back.
Some businesses are going so far as to provide areas for employees not to work. By providing spaces for workers to meditate, play a video game or grab a quick power nap, businesses are allowing employees the opportunity to recharge and regain their creative energy. Once seen by most as a silly luxury, these spaces may actually help ensure even greater productivity.
Diverse Textures and Finishes
Even offices that plan to remain “officey” are softening the look in 2018. Many companies are going for a minimalist or streamlined layout but enhancing that with some interesting blends of materials, metals with wood, textiles with stone, etc.
Cement will continue to be a big player in this restrained design. Cement provides offices with clean, smooth lines and has proven to be surprisingly versatile. Its usage can extend past simply floors to shelves, countertops, sinks and even furniture. Combining wood flooring with cement fixtures delivers a fun mix of textures that add depth to spaces and help to make them more interesting.
She’s Like a Rainbow
Pantone has released its eight color-trend palettes for 2018. To determine what are going to be the color combinations to catch eyes this year, Pantone Color Institute’s executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, studied the art scene, fashion, movies, television, theater, retail, architecture, food and consumer goods all over the world.
“Intense colors seem to be a natural application of our intense lifestyles and thought processes these days,” Eiseman said.
Pantone’s eight color groupings are:
- Verdure– “This palette is symbolic of health,” said Eiseman. It features fruit and vegetable-inspired colors, like celery and berry-infused purples.
- Resourceful– “It combines warm and cool tones (complementary color-wheel colors, like orange and blue) that you just can’t avoid looking at,” said Eiseman.
- Playful– “People need to stop and smile,” said Eiseman. This palette is “bright-hearted more than light-hearted” with quirky colors, like Lime Popsicle, Minion Yellow and Blue Skydiver.
- Discretion– Restrained and understated, this palette is the counterbalance to Playful.
- Far-fetched– Combining glowing and earthy tones, this palette “reaches out and embraces many different cultures,” said Eiseman.
- Intricacy– This palette features metallic colors combined with some red and yellow. “Metallics we know are classic,” Eiseman said, “but they have really moved over into neutrals.”
- Intensity– As the name implies, this palette is an eclectic mix of colors that deliver “a certain strength, power, depth and sophistication,” said Eiseman.
- TECH-nique– The colors in this palette reflect how ubiquitous technology has become in our everyday lives and include colors “that seem to shine from within,” such as an effervescent blue, green, purple, turquoise and pink that are counterbalanced by shades of white.
New Technologies Will Become Commonplace
Companies are already investing heavily to integrate technology throughout the workspace and stay up to date. While smartboards that encourage collaboration, wireless screen sharing capabilities and charging stations are already commonplace, look for other advancements to enter the office, like furniture with screens that simplify presentations.
The use of virtual and augmented reality will become more common as well. Look for sales teams to discover innovative uses for these technologies. And once they start impressing prospective buyers and closing deals, the use of these technologies will spread.
There is a relatively new environmental certification, known as WELL, that is geared toward buildings that take care of their workers in a holistic sense. This accreditation looks beyond environmentalism to include the air, food and environment that employees face every day. As the above trends flourish, look for more building to achieve the WELL certification.
If you are interested in jumping on some of these design trends (or are looking to become a WELL building), give The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005.