In recent years, offices and workplaces in general have become much more flexible, with an emerging emphasis on the wellbeing of employees. This can be achieved through freedom of movement, increased personalisation of workspace, and technology that’s designed to make staff feel healthier and happier in their work.
The focus going forward will be on business’ vitality, its progressive attitudes and its ability to recognise the value of the individual in the work place and how a valued individual can impact on the company as a whole. With this in mind, here are a few office design trends we believe will come to the fore in the coming year.
The Green Revolution Continues
When it comes to employee well-being and a boost to a firm’s collective mental health, the “greening” of workplaces has been a great success and looks set to continue in 2018. Biophilic design features have so far included rooftop gardens, water features and natural wall dividers made from wood or bamboo. Now businesses are set to go further, with green philosophies being applied across the board. For example, we’ll see air purification renovations, grey water systems, green web hosting, carbon offsets, work cafeterias using locally sourced products, offices being powered by renewable energy sources, and more.
Ever More Openness
Open collaborative spaces such as unenclosed meeting areas will continue to increase in popularity. 2018 will see traditional closed spaces fade as walls are torn down and, where necessary, replaced with wall dividers created using alternative, often more natural materials, such as bamboo or living walls with shrubbery, or acoustic panels.
Textures and Natural Finishes
Human beings are instinctively drawn to natural textures such as wood, stone and plant life. This of course is closely linked to the rise of biophilic office design, as we’ve seen above, and it’s also what’s driving companies to bring in more textures, wherever they can.
In 2018, we will see a much greater variety of textures and natural finishes appearing in workspaces, including some unusual combinations, as designers become more adventurous. As well as more wood everywhere, there will a preponderance of features such as sea shell wall dividers, hand-woven rugs and wall hangings, real or more likely imitation sheepskin furniture throws, handmade baskets and acoustic fabric panels for walls. Textures enhance the sensory elements of any room and connect more deeply with people, making them feel more comfortable, and more like they belong.
Ever More Inclusivity
So many companies these days are looking into new ways of improving inclusivity and accessibility for all individuals, particularly those with disabilities or physical impairments. From a design point of view, one desk no longer fits all. So, companies are increasingly looking at desks with adjustable height, adaptive chairs and various assistive devices to ensure that all employees are able to thrive in their work environment.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are about to take off in the workplace and 2018 could very well provide the tipping point, with this technology being used in product development, sales presentations, immersive meetings, talent recruitment, and so on. Design-wise, this could well be the year that companies start to experiment with dedicated spaces for VR and AR activity. Or they may very well decide to integrate them into each individual workspace, like other technological features.
Either way, exciting changes in office design are definitely afoot and we’re very much looking forward to playing a part in this amazing evolution. Need advice about office design? Contact Flow today for an in-depth consultation about your requirements.