The office isn’t ‘home’. Surely if the space is functional and does what you need, that’s all there is to it? Not quite. Whilst of course the style will differ from a home environment, workplace trends themselves shape the trends of office design, and indeed the functionality of that design. Productivity is bolstered by our ability to understand workplace trends and facilitate them through design. We need to look at workplace trends to identify the right office furniture for us.
1. Clients and employees care about the experience
Gone are the days of a blank grey and blue office setting. Part of conveying your brand – both to clients and as an employer – is how your workspaces look and feel. Impressions matter.Therefore, whether it’s a client, interviewee or an employee walking in to your office, they need to be struck by the ‘persona’ you want them to feel. We see this with the infamous Google ‘slide’ showcasing fun and energy or the Inventionland pirate ship sparking creativity.This isn’t hard to replicate using your own brand for the starting blocks when you choose the furniture to fit your identity. For example, the Nook and the Grand Piano range are two very distinctive break-out spaces which differ from each other.
It’s also clever to use plants and greenery to your advantage here. The next generation of workers expect greener spaces, and that starts in your office space.
2. Collaboration is where work really gets done
Collaboration matters. Bring together creative minds and their output will be so much greater than the sum of their individual parts. However, shoe-horn them in to a sterile meeting room, or force them to chat around a traditional desk, and you’re inhibiting the flow of ideas.For this reason offices are increasingly creating distinctive and different spaces within their workplace where collaboration is the primary objective. Again, Google may do this by putting up basketball hoops and hot air balloon baskets with seats inside, but it needn’t be that complicated.Use colour and texture to demark a collaboration zone in your workspace. You can find inspiration in our soft furnishings here.
3. We need to do more than nod to security
The GDPR is strict when it comes to looking after the personal information of clients, employees and service users. Whilst our attention in the run up to its introduction was, perhaps rightly, on digital data security, we’ve slightly forgotten about the risk involved with hard copies. Paper documents are easy to intercept, fall in to the wrong hands, or forget about for too long.Understanding this should feed through to our contemporary office design. We need to incorporate secure storage in order to demonstrate we take the security of information seriously. This is in addition to choosing office storage furniture which makes it easier for us to follow security processes.
4. Comfort, ergonomics and looking after our staff
Modern working life rarely resembles a 9-5 day. It’s not unusual for there to be periods of time when it’s longer than this. This is combined with our increasing knowledge of the impact of work life on an individual.We now understand more about ergonomics that ever before. 30.8 million work days are lost each year in the UK due to time off for musculoskeletal issues – that’s back pain and the like.Employers want to ensure that staff can work safely and productively. Seating needs to consider ergonomics alongside design and looks. What’s more, when our employees feel cared for, they invest themselves in to the business more.
5. It’s not all work to get work done
An interesting discovery of modern times is that we’ve learned that we’re actually more productive if we take ample and frequent breaks, rather than plugging away for hours on end.
Workplaces need to actively encourage their workers in to break times. Time away from their desk to chat, have a cuppa, or even move. For this reason we’re seeing more and more offices incorporate everything from a kitchen-diner to a gym. At the very least, there needs to be a variety of spaces with sofas and soft-furnishings.
It’s not just about productivity either. With low unemployment, workers can up and leave when they want, knowing they can secure work elsewhere; their working environment and wellbeing matters to them. Retention can be boosted by providing your employees with a workspace they enjoy coming to and being in.
Workplace trends and understanding about ‘how we work’ shapes office design trends. Office furniture is at the heart of balancing functionality and practicality with design features. We can incorporate the different elements of leading workplace trends through our office furniture choice.