As interior pros, we are always curious about what is happening in our industry. We thought it might be fun to share our insights and predictions for the coming year.
Bringing the Outdoors In
Mother Nature will be your new coworker in the best office designs in 2017. “Creating a connection with the workplace and the world of living things around us produces tangible results in heath and productivity,” said Mike Warren, our Workplace Culture Consultant. For example, green plants are not only easy on the eyes, but also filter impurities from the air while adding oxygen. The use of light is also very important for productivity. That’s why LED illumination is the new standard in general office lighting. Great office designs also make use of as much natural light as the architecture allows. Harsh artificial sources like florescent lights should be avoided.
Common workspaces, collaboration rooms, a place to hang out and talk – however you phrase it, common workspaces are becoming, well, more common as time goes on. A purposely designed collaboration space can put teams at ease and allow ideas to flow much better than gathering around someone’s desk or huddling in the break room. Diversity is the key. Acoustical furniture pods can accommodate 2-4 person meetings. Larger standing whiteboard tables allow for larger groups to brainstorm together.
Open Work Spaces/ Quiet Zones
Open work spaces are a trend that will definitely continue in the new year. But everyone needs a handy quiet space to duck into when a little solitude is called for. The single acoustical egg chair or pod is perfect for those times when silence is golden. Care should also be taken while planning open workspaces so that proper acoustic options can be built into the design to minimize sound distractions in the first place.
Sit/Stand Capability = Productivity
Every company should be concerned about the health and productivity of their workforce. Task seating and an overall focus on ergonomics will continue to be a focus for investment. Providing opportunities to have elevated surfaces in the copy area, standing height meeting tables and even powered surfaces at workstations are all becoming the norm. A Texas A& M study of call center employees showed that productivity increased by 46% when the people had the opportunity to raise and lower their desk as they wished. Encouraging team members to get up and move around during the work day is also vital. Health benefits include burning more calories, better blood flow and improved posture.
There is no sense in going to all the time and expense of re-designing your office space if circumstances render it obsolete in a couple of years. The office environment of the future will become more fluid, with constant evaluation of workspaces becoming the norm. “The most effective workplaces will adapt to employees’ needs and not require the employee to adapt to the space,” commented Collen Baader, our Creative Director of Design. “Be ready with interiors and furniture that can be modified in the future to reflect new uses of space, technology, and the way people will work in the future.”
A Final Thought
While a list of trends can be useful or even amusing, nothing takes the place of carefully listening to a client relate their hopes and plans for their organization and workspace flow. Only after a thorough consultation do we design and fabricate the interiors and furniture that will fit the that particular customer’s needs. Trends and fads come and go, but our dedication to this custom-made approach is something you can count on now and in the future.