The Office Environment: Which Workplace Designs Are Helping Create The Offices Of The Future?

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Due to the covid-19 crisis, many businesses have had their workforce working from home for the majority of this year. While remote working is set to continue for a lot of companies, some are starting to make the return back to the office, with social distancing and safety measures in place. Whether office spaces are still closed, or still need to be adapted for workers, there are many opportunities for employers to transform their workplace for their staff. With workers still working at home, it can be the perfect opportunity to update the design of the office.

Updating a workplace to incorporate the latest design trends can provide multiple benefits to just about any business. Employers are quickly realising that their employees are their biggest assets and that workplace design can either negatively or positively impact employee satisfaction and engagement. Design choices do not just relate to different business owners and their companies but also the different working generations too. While Generation Z are just starting out in employment, in just a decade they will make up a significant proportion of the workforce. As younger generations enter work, they are likely to want something different out of a work environment than their predecessors. They are more likely to be attracted to jobs that provide a workplace that integrates work, play, and rest, where they can feel part of the company rather than just another employee.

In order to attract the best talent from the younger generations, businesses are going to need to start paying even greater attention to what designs are trending and how to use these to source the best future employees.

Incorporating more isolated open plan designs & relaxed workspaces

Open plan designs have been trending for a few decades now and seem to be setting the scene for the way forward in workplace and office design trends. Some of the top office design trends of 2019 included flexible seating, smarter conference rooms, and even colour-blocking – creative modern designs which can be used in an open office layout. With covid-19 this year, open plan designs can help employees space out more in the workplace. However, office layouts that are less open can also be beneficial in the middle of the pandemic too. According to this guide on How Covid-19 Could Change Office Design by Southern Office Furniture, office partitions, floor standing screens, and acrylic screens, can provide more isolation for employees. These office solutions can help to keep workers protected and separate from other employees while still working in the same office as everyone else.

As design elements continue to change in modern architecture for retail, residential spaces, public spaces and more, office spaces have become more relaxed and less office-like than ones from the past. Many companies around the world even have comfortable lounge furniture in reception areas for visitors or for employees in breakout rooms to relax in.

Adapting for the younger generation workforce

All around the world companies are modernising their workspaces in order to keep up with the latest trending designs. However, it can also be important to consider what employees might be looking for in a work environment too. As a lot of younger companies have employees under the age of thirty, a lot of office designs have started to cater for the young Millennial and Generation Z demographics. BHive-11’s Delhi coworking space has done just that with their light colour palette, creative wall murals, and eye-catching designs. Every corner of their office has a bold touch, whether it is the striking yellow walls in the bathroom or creative decor elements in the corridors. While coworking spaces like this are a lot more relaxed, employees still need to be mindful of the etiquette rules for coworking spaces, such as not being noisy and respecting the boundaries of other workers.

To help cater for a younger workforce, office spaces are now also starting to include more space for relaxation. BHive-11’s space in Delhi has done so by providing a lounge area where employees can take some time to unwind. It’s not just comfort that offices want to provide for their workers but also workplace perks and communal features too. Vending machines, in-office cafeterias, charging points and more, are just some modern features that employees enjoy having whilst working in an office. Research has even found that younger people are part of a more sociable generation and therefore younger employees often prefer to work in a communal workplace rather than working from home. With covid-19 lockdowns this year, around the world young employees have had to adapt to working from home instead. As recent research showed that the demographic that missed the office the most were the under 35s, companies may want to adapt to both remote work and office life to cater for a flexible future.

Back to nature – bringing the outdoors in

In today’s modern workspaces, more and more companies are adopting a more environmentally-friendly design in their office environment. Where old office spaces used to be full of cubicles and beige colour schemes, modern offices of today are now adopting a more bright and open office space. Plenty of office spaces are now incorporating more indoor plants and natural lighting to help create a better work environment for employees to work in. One big company that has adopted a stylish biophilic design is Twitter’s Toronto office. The social network company hired design firm ACDO to design their Canadian office and design a space that embodied Twitter’s key attributes. Therefore, to help influence connections between employees and collaborators, the new office design was bold, modern, and featured biophilic elements.

ACDO helped to incorporate biophilic elements into the office design by including white-washed oak and preserved plants. Indoor plants are incorporated into the office space in various areas such as their breakout space, waiting area, and the lobby. Offices like this one that have a light and environmentally-friendly space can help boost productivity and motivation, and promote positive well-being in workforces. Therefore, biophilic office spaces, such as Twitter’s Toronto office, that include more natural light, plants, lighter colour schemes and wood elements, are likely to keep younger generation employees satisfied and help promote a positive environment for them to work in.