The way we work together has transformed over the past decade, and our workplaces reflect this dramatic change. Offices don’t have to be the grey neon tombs we recognise from yesteryear, they can adapt to new routines and new technology. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the design trends we are starting to see for offices in 2018.
People are retiring later, meaning there is a larger age-range among employees. It’s vital that younger people and business veterans feel comfortable in the same environment. In the past few years there was a mad push to try and lure younger, fresher faces into the office. Now, it’s about keeping the entire floor happy.
Offices will increasingly try to adopt a feeling of openness and space, and use adaptable meeting places in lieu of closed rooms and offices. Don’t like the way the furniture is set up? Move it around until you do.
Cloud services and instant messaging mean that employees have less need for face-to-face meetings, so spaces will be mostly for team gatherings and the exchange of ideas. If dividers are required, they’ll likely be designatory rather than solid, and made from a sustainably sourced material like bamboo.
This trend isn’t new to 2018. We’ve seen more and more offices try to adopt biophilic designs and additions. However, the focus is changing slightly, as an article in SBFI explains:
“In 2018, the trend will move beyond simple additions such as plants and live walls, rather biophilic design will become integrated into the workplace. More designers will use natural elements as framework and develop the workplace around them. More focus will also be on the materials throughout the office including furniture. While natural looking finishes will be popular, the emphasis will go beyond their appearance, to consider how they’re produced and sourced. New office projects that don’t consider either LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) will be few and far between.”
Trends from 2017 will continue into 2018, including the use of locally sourced food and drinks, bicycle vouchers, and renewable energy commitments. Companies may even go so far as to incorporate literal “green” spaces, like indoor gardens and flower beds.
Offices in the United States lost $330 billion last year due to poor office design. It’s more important than ever to make sure your employees feel like they can relax in the workplace. The most beneficial trend for 2018 is the “Recharge Room”, a place for employees to plug in and chill out.
Textures play an important role in helping employees relax. A room with a variety of textures and colours is much more aesthetically pleasing than a traditional break room. It gives a sense of being at home, reducing anxiety, and providing a safe space in what may be a turbulent time at work. It used to be that a room like this was for staff to do some light socialising, but a recharge room is a place for employees to take a breath, meditate or even take a nap in relative peace. These will be considered a luxury by many offices, but the benefits may eventually convince some of the doubters.
Photo by K2 Space