While 2020 kept many of us away from our workplaces, this does not mean the end of traditional office settings.
As things are calming down a bit and companies are finding a balance between virtual and physical offices, we can take a look at what office trends we can expect to see in the new year. Incorporate some of them in your own office to stay on the cutting edge!
Open layouts are here to stay
Open layouts have dominated the office scene for quite a while now. They are modern, they encourage collaboration, boost the team spirit, and are really beneficial for companies that put a great emphasis on these values.
However, with consideration to the coronavirus and social distancing orders, one might wonder what awaits this concept in 2021.
The fact of the matter is that open layouts are not going anywhere in the near future. There are some advantages to this design in this regard that might seem counterintuitive at first.
However, large, open spaces allow for better ventilation and they are also easier to clean and maintain than individual cubicles.
These are just some of the reasons why COVID-19 will not put an end to the open layout trend.
Social distancing continues
Social distancing continues to be an important practice against the spread of COVID-19. This means that workplaces will need to adapt to this new way of life.
If you are to leverage an open office layout, you will most likely need to limit the number of employees working in a shared space for the time being.
However, there are other ways in which office design can adapt to this situation. For instance, even in an open layout, it is beneficial to keep different workstations separate.
Flexibility and modularity will also be major trends for the same reasons, which will be discussed later.
Sustainability is still important
The issue of sustainability is more relevant than ever. Companies that want to appeal to a younger and more eco-conscious workforce will therefore continue to strive towards a greener path.
From something as small and simple as a good recycling program and energy-efficient lighting all the way to major upgrades such as the use of renewable energy sources, we will see a continued shift towards eco-friendliness in office design.
Hopefully, more and more offices will feature furniture made of recycled materials and make use of reusable supplies. Making eco-conscious decisions every step of the way pays off in the long term and also boosts employee satisfaction, so there are no downsides to it.
In 2021, the word “fixed” seems to start having a smaller significance. As we already experienced, fixed work hours are slowly being swapped for flexible schedules, so it should not be too surprising that the same is true in the case of office design.
Since it has proved to be an invaluable quality, flexibility is becoming a priority in office interiors.
From easily movable and modular furniture pieces to multi-purpose equipment, an office that can quickly adapt to the rapidly changing needs of a work collective is the way to go.
A capacity to reorganize a room in order to space out employees or in order to adapt it to different work tasks is indeed an invaluable asset in a dynamic office setting.
Adapting to virtual workplace needs
We already mentioned the importance of an office design being adaptable. But this does not only refer to desks being easily rearrangeable.
Nowadays, it is also important that an office is equipped to adapt to the tech requirements that have recently become more prominent.
Namely, conference rooms today need to be ready to cater to virtual meetings as much as physical ones, if not more.
For this to go smoothly, the setup needs to be impeccable. This is why we will see more and more companies investing in modern conference rooms that look polished and are up for the task.
These rooms do not need to be big; in fact, conference rooms are likely to be scaled down, as a portion of the workforce continues working from home.
In addition, small rooms designated for individual video calls are probably going to become more prominent in the near future, too. Incorporating these does not need to involve major renovations, which is a great advantage.
Biophilia is still going strong
Since its appearance in office design, the importance of biophilia has been recognized many times.
This trend is expected to stay for 2021 as well, which is not surprising. Leveraging the power of greenery to create a relaxing, harmonious space that aids productivity and even helps fighting stress is more important than ever in today’s world.
In addition, workplaces are becoming more and more tech-oriented, which can result in alienation from nature in the long term.
Luckily, biophilia is another one of those trends that do not require a complete overhaul of your offices to be incorporated.
Therefore, it is accessible to companies of all sizes. Hopefully, an increasing number of companies will be recognizing the power of nature and strive to create an office that makes employees happy.
Ergonomics at the office
Office design needs to step up to cater to employees’ need of feeling comfortable in their workplace.
Comfort-oriented office design will strive to make employees feel at home and thereby, boost their productivity. However, ergonomics at the office is not merely a question of comfort; it is also a matter of health.
Recently, we have all become much more conscious of the importance of our wellbeing. Ergonomic furniture aims to preserve employees’ health by allowing them to keep an appropriate posture and, even better, change up their position from time to time (take, for instance, adjustable desks that can function as standing desks).
The emergence of resimercial design
In 2021, offices will start to resemble homes in an attempt to make employees feel comfortable. As we just mentioned, the implementation of ergonomic furniture is one way this can be done.
However, “resimercial” design that fuses residential design with that of the commercial world is expected to manifest in other areas as well.
For instance, simply a different choice of textures in the office can change the atmosphere to a cozier one – think about fabrics such as rugs that are usually used in residential interiors.
So, hopefully, in 2021, we can say goodbye to sterile, cold corporate spaces and enjoy a homey atmosphere thanks to this trend.
Paying attention to small details
While much of office design will focus primarily on functionality, the aesthetics of offices will not be declining either.
It goes without saying that attractive interiors are vital to a company. Not only do they raise the morale of the workforce and allow employees to feel pleasant while they are at work, but the visual aspect of an office also greatly reflects the company’s brand values.
Companies that know this well will put a special emphasis on the message they want to send through their interior design.
While branding does not need to be the main focus of the design, incorporating it in the details is still a great idea.
For instance, personalized mats with the company logo can greet visitors as they step in without the branding becoming too overwhelming in the design.
A pop of colour
When talking about office interior design, we can hardly skip mentioning the colors that are expected to be prominent this year.
While companies often stick to neutrals such as white and black, a pop of colour can boost the look of the interior.
You don’t necessarily need to include it by repainting the walls – it can simply be added as an accent, using furniture and accessories.
Some of the colors that are going to be popular in 2021 are Ultimate Gray and a shade of yellow called Illuminating.
We will likely see natural shades such as beige and dark green, as well as different shades of blue, too.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle
Staying at home has made us realize the dangers of physical inactivity and this is also something that more and more employers are taking into consideration when designing their offices.
Besides the aforementioned flexibility and comfort that adjustable desks and ergonomic furniture in general allow, office gyms are also becoming a trend among larger corporations that can afford them.
Not only is it an investment in employees’ health, but it is also a very attractive asset when recruiting. Hopefully, more and more offices will start thinking in this direction.
There is no doubt that the picture we once associated with an ordinary office is long gone.
While some trends have been steadily growing these past few years, such as bringing the outdoors in through biophilic design, as well as focusing more on health, ergonomics, and sustainability, a few new trends are also finding their way into our offices in 2021.
The unexpected circumstances that 2020 brought along have created a necessity for faster development in some areas and more flexibility when it comes to office arrangements.
It will be interesting to observe how these trends continue evolving throughout 2021.