What’s been trending for office furniture so far this year? Ergonomic chairs? Adjustable-height, standing desks? Stationary desk bikes?
On the contrary, office furniture trends for the first few months of 2019 have shifted even further away from specific models and makes, and are instead focusing the industry’s attention toward an office design approach that is inspiring even the most innovative workspaces.
The rise in popularity of creating wellness in the workplace, coupled with companies applying biophilic design principles to their offices is evidence that businesses are prioritising not only productivity, but are increasingly considering human-centered design and are looking out for the well-being and comfort of their employees.
If fostering collaboration and increasing productivity through workspace design is the goal, then yes, being on trend matters. According to an American study, 56% of employees are still stuck in static workspaces, such as cubicles, and designated offices behind closed doors. In today’s collaborative working environment, this type of office design may no longer support employees’ needs, and therefore hinders their productivity at work.
For companies setting up new office spaces or updating their commercial interiors, staying on this trend will give businesses a cutting-edge advantage in attracting and retaining top talent employees – people who are inspired to come to work each day.
This year so far has seen office design trends build on the open-plan office concept that has gained momentum in recent years. Workspaces will continue to be designed with collaboration, productivity and technology use in mind, while adding the comforts of home to promote employee well-being.
What type of office furniture fosters collaboration? Collaboration is linked to creativity and innovation. Therefore, designing collaborative office spaces should be an intentional process resulting in areas with sofas and other group seating options to encourage spontaneous brainstorming sessions.
Minimising obstructions like walls, doors, and large room dividers enables employees to see and hear each other better. Reconfigurable office furniture helps employees optimize their work spaces for collaboration as needs shift from quiet individual work to small group work sessions to large group meetings.
Common-sense considerations for collaborative furniture design includes larger desks, sofas and settees, coffee tables, as well as room dividers and partitions. So much depends on technology these days and our dependence on tech increases exponentially. Clunky computers of yesteryear (and the office furniture that housed them) no longer have a place in modern office design for companies that want to remain competitive.
Incorporating technology into office design decision is a compulsory move when employees rely on mobile technology, including smartphones, tablets and laptop computers as means of doing their jobs. Standard technology-driven design upgrades include ports in every table, desk and near each chair, smart boards and integrated tech furniture incorporating HVDC capabilities with screens, ports and wires, with no doubt much more to come.
As more and more employees opt for work-from-home arrangements, businesses will respond by designing office spaces with a ‘home away from home’ mentality, abandoning or reducing the need for more traditional office furniture.
Early adopters of this trend have incorporated workspaces that look more like dens or living rooms, communal kitchens, gyms, meditation rooms and even game rooms. These features are designed to create a space where workers actually want to be, where they’ll gladly spend a bit of extra time to wrap up their tasks for the day. Furthermore, employees who feel comfortable in their work environment will feel less pressure and allow creativity to flow more freely.