As the commercial design industry rapidly embraces new ways of thinking and more attention is shifted to employee comfort, retention and engagement than ever before, office designers are no longer only concerned with how many employees and corporate logos they can fit into a room. They are charged with attracting talent from multiple generations, improving employee wellness through thoughtful design and creating future-proof spaces that can accommodate growth and advancements in technology. These changes in workplace strategy and corporate culture have led to some of the most innovative and original designs ever brought into commercial spaces. In this article we discuss some of the most prominent trends of 2016.
Collaborative Spaces– In the last ten years, collaborative spaces have become one of the most discussed topics in office design and have seen a particular surge in popularity in 2016. With proponents such as Google and Zappos it’s easy to see why so many companies are jumping on the bandwagon and creating open offices. This isn’t to say, however, that designers are doing away with private spaces altogether. After all, trying to complete highly focused work in a room with 50 other people can be nearly impossible. As a solution, many modern offices use multi-purpose design and modular furniture to make a small space accommodate a larger number of tasks, work styles and employees than would be possible with a conventional layout. With a multi-purpose space an office can transform from an open teaming area to a series of private workspaces as needed, giving businesses maximum use of their space.
Employee Wellness– Modern office designers aren’t just thinking about how a space will look, they are also starting to take into account factors like acoustics, natural light exposure, ergonomics, air quality and ways to encourage movement in the workplace. Many office workers sit for over 9 hours a day and with studies showing how detrimental this can be to an employee’s health it should come as no surprise that strategically placed stairs, walking tracks and standing height desks are becoming more common in office buildings. Health conscious designs also benefit employers by reducing the number of sick days used by employees and increasing their level of engagement at work. Healthier employees aren’t just happier, they’re more productive and creative as well!
Green Design– Bringing the outdoors into the office has become a major theme in modern office design, this may include the addition of a “green wall” made of living plants, more windows for sunlight or the use of natural materials like stone and wood. This trend can be partly attributed to the focus on employee well-being as exposure to natural surroundings and light as opposed to a purely artificial environment has been shown to improve productivity and overall employee happiness.
Technology Integration– As businesses become more data-driven and dependent on new technologies the workplace must change to accommodate the infrastructure associated with these advancements. Integrating electrical and data wiring via hidden tracks and incorporating outlets directly into office panels and furniture gives team members more options in the way they work. This freedom of movement increases spontaneous meetings and collaboration to catalyze innovation and breakthroughs. Offices of the future will take tech integration a step further with wearable technology and advanced modular construction. Some companies are already testing devices that allow employees to work and attend meetings in virtual reality and wearables that monitor blood-pressure, breathing and body position to help designers create a more ergonomic environment.
As the way we view the workplace evolves so must office design, but through every change one fact remains the same, that successful design is based on user experience. Designing from a user-based perspective allows us to create environments that are immersive, efficient and ready for the challenges of the future. For help creating your ideal professional environment visit Skutchi.com or call us at 1-888-993-3757 to speak with a dedicated Skutchi Designs representative and take advantage of free space-planning and design services.