people relaxing during lunch break

As a new wave of millennials begins to enter the workplace, they are influencing the entire workforce’s attitude towards flexibility, mobility, sustainability and change.

A shift towards Activity Based Working (ABW) means employees are encouraged to decide how, when and where they work. In an office, that means there is a choice of different work settings on offer, each designed for a different task or working style. For example, collaboration zones for effective group tasks, workstation corner desks, individual 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 2020, we are beginning to see designers and business owners wanting to maximise and make the most of limited space, use the latest technologies, combat the open-plan office to suit all working styles, while finding 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:

The '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.

Workstations and electric standing desks are great options to incorporate into open-plan office spaces as they allow tidy cable management and a sleek look for your laptop and electricals throughout the workday.

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 fantastic way to bring positivity and vibrancy to your office, whilst helping employees 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 colour use 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 as a way to portray their image or identity. Colour schemes can also be used 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 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. While there are only a few major concerns, there are still 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 booths.

Adding new furniture and conference rooms is a great idea, but can also be a costly one. So another addition that may 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.

Experience-Driven Workplaces

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 more time is now spent 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, plenty of interesting furniture and breakout spaces, the workplace becomes a far more appealing experience which will continue to attract and keep good staff who will thrive within 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.