Trends in Office Design: Think Outside the Cube


One of the most underappreciated components of engagement and productivity of employees is office design. There are three in every four workers struggling to work effectively, which can result in lost productivity and worker engagement because of the non-optimal workplaces. Employees will tend to underperform and become flight risks when they are not comfortable in the office they are occupying. “Having the right office space is key to the success of any business,” says Central London property finders.

What Drives Office Design Trends?

Mobile technology has become one of the biggest trends and has untethered employees from desks, giving them the chance to work anywhere at any time. The growing flexibility has enabled employees to come and go anytime they want. Workers can easily perform tasks remotely, even from the comfort of their own home. Employees at the office can also find themselves having to work with independent contractors, freelancers and consultants.

Another factor that drives trend is the idea that an office should strive to foster a collaborative and relative working style. Millennial have put a lot of emphasis on collaboration. Maybe it is due to the fact that they grew up with mobile technology and have a harder time making a strong division between home space and work space, or even between a third space like a park bench or coffee shop. They can easily work from anyplace, anytime and reject the idea of staying behind the desk all day.

3 Major Office Design Trends

1. Home- Like Offices

Millennials are looking for ways they can be comfortable when working for many hours in the office. This is why more and more people are opting for offices that feel like a cosy home. It is common to see a snack area that has been fully stocked at the expense of the company. Many workplaces today have a wide range of plants, natural lighting and even sometimes a ping pong table. It is also common to see offices with plush couches for lounging. There are some companies that offer their employees the choice to come to work in the office on not, forcing them to make the office more attractive and make them choose to work in the office instead. Otherwise, most employees will choose to work from home or even a coffee shop.

2. Multi-Purpose Workspaces

There has been an increase in diversity of the workforce and this has enforced by office designers to adapt physical space with this in mind. A team focusing on a small project might need a table that can accommodate about six people meeting to work on the project. Whiteboards are also important because they help in brainstorming sessions around the office, which can sometimes be critical. Lounge and snacking areas can also be used as a space for one-to-one coaching sessions or social interactions that can turn into a cross-disciplinary collaboration. Every office space should be promoting transparency and supporting different purposes starting from individuals to larger groups of people.

Space should always support collaboration, but it should also provide a certain level of privacy when it is needed. If say a sales person of the company is trying to negotiate a deal with a new client, the interaction should not take place in an open place where everyone can hear and see, but in a more private setting like a conference room or a phone booth that has a closed door. A private unit should be readily available when needed if an employee needs to make a personal call. This means it is important to balance collaboration and privacy.

3. Modular Layouts

Space and function have continued to be interchangeable, with modular layouts being the more preferred option over a fixed one. Modular layouts will give the companies a chance to easily move around furniture and meet the evolving needs at the moment. Working spaces will be easily customised and multi-purpose, which nearly eliminates the need to have a dedicated workstation.

The Takeaway

The design of the office matters to the employees working in the workspace. Relationships have become more flexible and mobile technology has enabled people to work anywhere at any time, and this means workspaces must be able to come up with ways to match this flexibility. The productivity of employees has in the recent past become more about collaboration and sharing information. Physical spaces must be able to support these goals by allowing space for creativity. There is a growing demand for employees to become a little more adaptable, but the same can be said about office spaces.