The office is a place where many people spend the bulk of their waking hours. It’s also a place that needs to be functional, as well as a space where you can feel comfortable. As more and more companies begin to realize this, and as more people begin to work from their homes and other places they feel more at ease, needs and designs of offices are beginning to change. Gone are the days of the power office and the executives in the corner; today’s workplaces are much more open, user friendly, and designed for a variety of uses.
These 20 office design trends help showcase the direction that work environments are moving in.
Modern Commercial Office Design Ideas
- Urban Space Planning
According to Buttonwood Toronto commercial property management, many offices are beginning to take cues from urban space planning when designing their layouts. In urban space planning, it’s not just about making sure that the spaces fill a need, but that the spaces fill specific needs at specific times. That means that your workplace needs to have more than a simple desk area and meeting room. There also needs to be areas for eating, relaxing, communicating, and meeting in a variety of different ways. For those that like to work in a more relaxed atmosphere, this can mean comfortable seating, nooks, and libraries, while for those that prefer a more fast-paced environment it may mean using furniture that is designed to bring groups of people together through its use.
- Lounge Areas
Offices are about work and productivity, but more and more it’s being discovered that people can’t be productive if they don’t also get some down time as well. For this reason, it’s becoming more and more common for many offices to begin including lounge areas in their design. The lounge allows employees to socialize, work in comfort, and take breaks that get them away from their desk, but without having to leave the building. These shorter breaks mean that the team can get back on schedule faster than when they need to leave to get away from their desks.
- Hidden Cables and Streamlined Spaces
First everyone went paperless, then it was wireless. And while a lot of companies are beginning to use wireless technology for many things, the fact remains that cables and wires are still a fact for many work environments. Unfortunately, being tethered to those cords often means that desk areas can become cluttered, cords become trip hazards, and the aesthetic of the room is lost. That’s why one of the latest trends in office design involves hiding cables and cords beneath flooring, ceiling, wall panels, and furniture to create a more streamlined, uncluttered space.
- Multipurpose Workspaces
In a fast-paced environment, every second counts throughout the day. So if an employee needs to keep getting up and moving from one workspace to another in order to get the job done, then a lot of precious minutes can be lost in set up time. That’s why multipurpose workstations and workplaces are beginning to gain in popularity. When a workstation has everything that the person needs right at their fingertips, they’re more likely to stay focused on the task at hand, than if they need to constantly get up and move around to find it.
- Incorporating Nature
From an aesthetic standpoint, a number of studies have shown that office workers tend to be more productive when exposed to nature. This may be why more offices are beginning to incorporate more natural materials and nature motifs into their designs. This includes rustic wood, natural stone, and lots of texture and variation in the design of the rooms. This keeps the décor from getting boring, which in turn can help keep your focus sharp.
- Pops of Color
Color has a tremendous impact on how a person functions in a given setting. Unfortunately, many people in office environments don’t like to move with large swaths of color, preferring to be more conservative in their approach. That may be why smaller pops of color in the workplace are beginning to gain traction. Introducing small amounts of bold color lets you get the benefits, without the fear of overpowering the space or losing the corporate atmosphere.
- Community Tables
For a long time workers were separated from one another, either via offices or cubicles. Times are changing, however, and so are the ways that work gets done. For many offices this means using community tables, instead of separate desks or offices. At a community table, many people may be sharing the same workspace, but this in turn leads to great collaboration, idea sharing, and interest in coming to work.
- Lots of Textures
No one likes flat, boring, corporate offices with no soul and no aesthetic. That’s why more offices are moving toward designs that have a lot of depth and interest to them. One way to achieve this is by introducing a lot of texture throughout the space, such as acoustic paneling in geometric shapes and designs, reclaimed wood, concrete, and innovative plastics.
- Flexible Layouts
The atmosphere in workplaces is beginning to change, becoming a lot more relaxed, casual, and reliant on collaboration. To that end, workplaces themselves are beginning to change with them, including becoming more flexible in terms of layouts. Community tables, lounge areas, and workplaces that can be moved around make it easier for employees to relax and get things done. If a layout isn’t working, then the ability to change it easily to something that does cannot be overlooked.
- Inclusive Workplaces
Universal design is one of the most important phrases in any type of building or interior designing. It means that the space must function for the greatest number of people possible, regardless of size or ability. This means that things like furniture that can accommodate different heights of people, flexible layouts that can accommodate people with mobility issues, and a variety of different workstations so people of all abilities can function their best within one setting.
- Playful Spaces
Many younger companies like to have a little fun with their environment and the people that work there. This means that a lot of newer companies that employee a younger population of people are embracing more playful spaces to work in. From hammocks and nets to climbing walls and yoga balls as chairs, more playful workspaces make it more fun for people to come to work. This in turn helps increase productivity as people would rather be there than anywhere else.
- Promoting Communication
Communication is important in every industry, regardless of office layout or the age of your staff. That’s why many offices today are putting a bigger focus on communication in the workplace, setting things up so that it’s easier for employees to collaborate with one another and with clients. This may mean more meeting spaces, communal workspaces, as well better acoustics throughout the building to make it easier for people to hear what’s going on.
- Task Oriented Design
When you need to keep people focused on what it is that they’re doing, you may find yourself leaning more toward a task oriented design for your office. Task oriented design means equipping specific workstations just for a single task. Rather than having employees working at a personal station, employees float depending on what it is that they need to accomplish that minute. This more casual work atmosphere works best in situations where employees may need to wear many hats.
- Transparent, Interconnected Design
Gone are the days of the cube farms and offices with closed doors. Many workplaces and offices are beginning to see the need for transparency and workspaces that are interconnected with one another. To that end, you’ll find more glass walls that muffle sound, but provide a full view of the work inside, as well as open floor plans, and rooms that open out onto one another so people can keep in better touch, rather than staying in their own world.
- Adjustable Furnishings
People come in all shapes and sizes, and so, therefore, should their furniture. That doesn’t mean that you should be buying all new desks and chairs every time someone new joins your team, though. Instead, consider investing in adjustable furnishings for the office. Chairs and desks that can adjust height, support, and backrests for each person who uses them. This reduces repetitive injury stain and fatigue, and helps keep office workers happy.
- Green Working Spaces
Green buildings and ecofriendly design are two of the most important things people are looking for today. It’s not enough for a company to simply go paperless; the entire design and flow of the space needs to be sustainable as well. This means using green building materials such as recycled and reclaimed flooring, paints and furnishings with low VOCs, and appliances that use less energy for a healthier working environment for everyone.
- Zen Principles
Zen design has been moving west for some time now, taking over spas and bathrooms, and now office spaces. The principles behind Zen design include creating a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere where people can work more efficiently. Smooth lines, tranquil sounds, natural lighting, and muted colors are all gaining in popularity throughout office spaces as people turn toward a more peaceful work environment.
- The Anti-Office
Once upon a time, the goal was to have your own corner office, complete with door and four walls. Times are different now, however, and the corner office has become passé. Instead, completely open workplaces where everyone is visible to everyone else, and there are no walls or places to shut yourself away are gaining in popularity. By creating an open environment like this, it puts people on a more level playing field, fosters better communication, and helps develop better working relationships between everyone involved.
- Casual Meeting Spaces
For some companies, meetings are a way of life with many employees spending the vast majority of their time in one. So a stiff, formal meeting room can be a place that many people may come to dread. That’s why many companies are switching over to more casual meeting places, including conference rooms that more closely resemble lounges or break rooms than the typical board room. With couches, more comfortable seating, snack tables, and bookshelves, the meeting room becomes a place people want to be, rather than have to be.
- Outdoor Work Areas
During the nicer weather months, more people want to be outside, rather than trapped indoors at their desk. That may be why so many companies are beginning to offer outdoor work areas for the nicer parts of the year. Outdoor seating, wi fi, and tables let employees work at their own pace in a more natural setting. This helps encourage employees to come in even on those beautiful spring days when they may otherwise be inclined to call out.
Revamp Your Office
Offices are changing, and in some cases are barely resembling the workspaces of the past. With more companies beginning to think about their employees and the way they interact with their spaces, more enjoyable workspaces and office designs are beginning to emerge. Take on any of these 20 office design trends for your workspace to make the most out of your work environment.