As a new wave of millennials begin to enter the workplace, they are influencing the entire workforce’s attitudes towards flexibility, mobility, sustainability and change. A shift towards Activity Based Working (ABW) means that employees are encouraged to decide how, when and where they work. In an office that means they have a choice of work settings on offer, each designed for a different task or working style. For example, collaboration zones, workstations, focus zones and booths are some of the specific areas you might find in an open plan office. These areas are facilitated by enhancing and enabling the technology in that space.
Designers have come to understand the workplace better than ever before, and as we know, the workplace now plays an integral role in the success of any business. Looking ahead to 2019, we are beginning to see designers and owners of businesses wanting to maximise and make the most of limited space, use the latest technologies, combat the open plan office so that it suits all working styles, and find unique ways to keep their employees happy and motivated.
Below we delve into some of the key trends we will begin to see in office design throughout 2019:
A ‘Social and Digital’ Office
This year we will see designers begin to incorporate new technologies into workplace furniture in order to cater to our modern lifestyles. With the increasing nature of ABW and mobile technology, designers have had to consider this shift and how it will impact furniture design.
We have moved significantly past the days where you can only search the internet at our desks and now it is more common to browse the web, stream media and work anywhere from your home, cafe or elsewhere around the globe. Since our technology is now essentially wireless, designers have more creative freedom to consider how each piece could accommodate technology. By incorporating features such as charging ports, cable management and app adjustable electronics, these will enhance efficiency and productivity and allow employees to be less tied to their desk, and rather encourage them to be social, digital, progressive and innovative in the workplace.
Incorporation of colour
We have well and truly said goodbye to dark, serious office spaces and the use of colour in the workplace is an increasingly popular trend to consider. It is a way to bring positivity and vibrancy to your office and also helps employees to be more creative and productive. You can incorporate colour in many ways in your office, whether it be a subtle touch through furniture, desk screens and artwork, or more adventurous on walls and carpets. While there are many aesthetically pleasing reasons to bring colour to the workplace, many successful businesses have begun to incorporate brand colours to portray their image or identity, and also by using colour schemes as a way of navigating your way around a building. By creating colour schemes in certain areas of your office you can indicate what type of work ‘zone’ you are in, thus being a handy trick if you're based in an open-plan office allowing you to create focus areas, collaborative areas and breakout zones all indicated by colour.
Managing the acoustics in Open-Plan offices
Much like 2018, there has been continuous talk about the open-plan office. Is it still the way forward? Some people say yes, and others are finding plenty of reasons to ‘dislike’ the open layout. Constant noise, lack of concentration, higher stress levels and a lack of privacy are a few points to note and while there are only a few major concerns, there are plenty of positives to the open-plan layout.
Throughout 2019 we are going to see a number of modifications to the open-plan office that will help combat the excess noise and concentration issues people are having. We will see more conference rooms, dedicated collaboration areas for employees to find privacy or host meetings, and furniture that allows people to have barriers such as pods and phone booths. Adding new furniture and conference rooms is a great idea, but can also be a costly one. So another addition that could be a more cost-effective way for your office to combat excess noise is by incorporating simple acoustic panels and screens, which absorb sound waves to reduce noise, clarify speech and limit reverberation in walls.
As the world of office design continues to change we have undoubtedly noticed the shift from a traditional office layout to a more eccentric workplace ‘experience’. This shift stems from the desire to build a workplace where employees feel motivated, happy and valued. What this has meant for designers and employers, is that they have had to consider how to translate these values in the workplace and they now spend more time engaging with staff to define their needs and wants. It has become apparent that by incorporating functional and modern amenities such as cafes, pool tables, meditation spaces, and plenty of interesting furniture and breakout spaces, the workplace becomes a far more appealing experience and they will continue to attract and keep good staff who will thrive in that environment. By creating an ‘experience’ for staff when they come to work, you can then boost office morale, employee health and wellness, all while facilitating a creative work environment.
Have a look at our projects page for some of our latest open-plan projects.