The current trends in workplace design are going away from strictly decorative to combine the beautiful and the practical in new and exciting ways. Many new designs focus on increasing employee engagement and productivity based on their changing needs by maximizing teamwork, attention and performance. Workspaces paired with spaces for socializing or studying are equally beneficial for career-shaping. Design using offices to cultivate talent help staff remain focused and expand. The outcome is a thriving community that supports one another, and the mission of the organisation. Employees work in numerous ways and profit from providing choices for doing their jobs all day long.
Creating the best working environment for the employees is the driving force behind the developments in the design of workplaces this year since it has been affected by the Coronavirus. The ThinkLab team has been working behind the scenes since COVID-19 became part of our daily vernacular to chart the metrics of how the virus affects the interiors industry. While research shows that we are all suffering from the pandemic's economic consequences, design companies continue to celebrate the design industry's momentum and resilience as it pushes forward through helping customers foresee meaningful change. This has brought about much change which leads to the death of cut cubicles offices and the birth of something new and better.
Trends in the design of workplaces are changing to better connect with the way people work. One thing is certain: decades of cubicle dominance are drawing to a close. This transition is occurring at an extremely rapid pace. Top talent refuses to be confined by congested cubicles. A well-designed workplace benefits virtually all involved — employees get to work feeling more respected and eager to contribute, employers can improve departmental productivity and performance, and facilities managers have less maintenance-related problems to address. Employers who understand this would dominate the market in a declining labour force to recruit talent. The competition for top talent has brought about a rapid transformation in the architecture of the workplace. Knowing how modern office design encourages teamwork and recruits and is important to employees.
Our world today is mixed up and multifaceted, with boundaries and barriers blurred at all levels. Geography is no longer a consideration – the challenge is to recognize and retain talent, wherever it is located, regardless of age, gender or culture. This growing transparency and collaboration have created one critical area of focus where we need to concentrate our innovative thinking: diversity. Understanding our minds and bodies is now a prerequisite for understanding and constructing a modern environment for working life. So, what are the complex decade's job-design opportunities? It is important to recognize strong patterns that will radically change our working lives, every day, in many ways, and to discover that smart designs will be essential to creating workplaces and living spaces adapted to the needs of the various decades.
Google's 8th Avenue HQ secretly manipulates its workers every day by office architecture. There are no fixed desks and their lifts are slower, all of which cause workers to walk around more. It is all about so-called orchestrated chaos in the name of a workplace atmosphere culture, promoting what it calls casual collisions or encounters which trigger unexpected conversations and new ideas. It just can't happen if workers bring in. Among the sany features found in Google's charming offices are office putting-greens, antique subway cars and rotating bookcases. As part of its inspiration model, Google is known for its unique and impressive workspace designs.
For many this is at its best organisational design, engineering desirable job habits that, at least in principle, yield better results. And it makes complete sense, scientifically. There is no doubt about the fact that environmental workers are subjected to issues, not least because numerous surveys confirm this. In one poll of 1,456 workers by, 45% complained about lack of working space while 20% thought that their workplace atmosphere stopped them from doing their job. Itis no wonder the office refit market is booming with numbers like these. Data from the UK London Crane Survey 2017 by Deloitte found office refurbishments outnumbering more than two to one new build. Many surveys show what workers want, mostly funded by manufacturers selling their solutions, but to what degree it matters is a separate fish kettle.
There are barometers to measure how successful a workplace is to help the workforce. Workplace performance assessor Leesman has a Leesman+ certification where businesses have to score 70% or more and TSK's AJ Bell building has scored 80.6%. Only one field it tests is how office design can enhance health, an emotion that is closely correlated with efficiency. However, the design is design, trends are changing. But what's important is that study is now questioning this after it rushed to make offices open plan. Research by the Journal of Environmental Psychology of 40,000 employees in 300 offices suggests that the benefits of increased contact were lower than penalties for increased noise and reduced privacy.
Workplace design trends
The times are shifting. The digital revolution has already transformed our way of living and working – and more is to come. Future design of the workplace will look very different from today. They also established significant developments in Kinnarps' second trend study that will significantly affect the way we work – and play. For at least part of the week, almost 30% of workers will be operating remotely in the coming year. Many employees enjoy the versatility provided by virtual networking but there are also hidden disadvantages. For instance, remote workers are forced to rely heavier on screens and tablets than their counterparts in the workplace, causing feelings of disconnection between team members.
Some off-site workers notice the lines between work and personal time are blurred, and the likelihood of burn-out rises when employees feel overburdened or frustrated. There are many benefits of operating remotely, but the biggest drawback is the toll it can take on employee morale. Another development in the design of workplaces which is now showing its dark side is increased process automation. Also, automation leads to more effective workflow and cost savings, allowing workers to concentrate on more innovative or strategic tasks. Much like remote jobs, there are some disadvantages to it. Latest surveys have shown 48% of employees agree that modern technology in the workplace has done more harm than good.
Both of these factors guide the current developments in the workplace by 2020, all of which are focused on creating relaxed, versatile and innovative environments that will make the workers excited to work. The following 13 workplace design trends to watch now and in the future:
- Transformable Spaces - For a corporation to pay for real estate that only serves one purpose it is no longer feasible, you can check the estimate moving costs here — or even desirable. Workplace design trends are moving toward creating and exploiting multi-use spaces within the workplace, especially among start-ups and other small, innovation-driven businesses. All contribute to this new efficiency-driven mentality by shared economy, collaborative culture and a common desire for sustainability. Transformable spaces often contribute to the activity-based labour movement that allows workers to travel around the workplace, changing environments to accommodate the job that they are doing.
- Thinking in Transition - Steve Jobs famously planned Apple's offices at the ends of the floors with toilets so that his employees would have to walk a little during their working days. Of course, the extra workout is a bonus, but the true payoff is increased time for transformative thought. Research suggests that we are more vulnerable to serendipitous experiences while we're on the run and susceptible to bursts of imagination. Therefore, as we fly through a passageway between two fixed spaces, breakthrough inspirations always come up. Putting ourselves into dynamic "passage" mode often produces a more comfortable state of mind, enabling us to step outside of the proverbial box. This is particularly helpful for staff with expertise. This group of workers benefits from automating routine activities, as it frees them from running about, dreaming, developing and innovating. Otherwise, they would be trapped at their desks, sedentary, sluggish, and progressively growing their risk of different health problems.
- Kitchen Table Creativity - The kitchen table at home is the House's epicentre. We are not only eating there — we are chatting, but we are also playing sports, we are paying bills, we are sharing. Having a similarly community-centred, multifunctional office meeting area will replace the stuffy conference room and allow employees to bring their true selves to the table. (Literally!) Researchers have found that practical, group-sized facilities cultivate a sense of camaraderie and belonging, both promoting collaboration and creativity among colleagues.
- Resimercial design – This taps into the power of communal gathering areas, combining commercial efficiency with the comforts of home. Business lobbies are no longer sterile and elegant, brimming with cushy couches, whimsical beanbag chairs and brightly designed artwork. Conference rooms and cubicles give way to huddle seating areas, lounges, and café. Simply move the furniture out in your common area to make it feel warmer and comfortable will change the mood of your entire workspace. Resimercial design is also a great way for every single visitor who crosses your threshold to represent their brand values in a tangible, visual way.
- The Multisensory Office - A trend in the design of workplaces that leverages multisensory attributes is biophilic design, focusing on reconnecting people to nature. Think of how you can make the indoor spaces feel more like the outside to integrate this technique into your workplace. Anything that allows fresh air and natural light to reach your common areas from a living garden wall would do the trick. Some businesses promote biophilic architecture by building outdoor meeting spaces such as patios or gardens. In the absence of true nature, the natural world will invoke the use of organic forms and earthy colour palettes.
- Fun and relaxing recreation rooms - There are rising numbers of businesses building leisure rooms where people can take a break and have fun. These spaces offer people the opportunity to relax and socialize and create stronger connections among teammates that can promote morale and productivity. Lounges can take many different forms. Playing spaces, therapy or yoga spaces, coffee bars, mini-theatres or fitness centres are some suggestions.
- Retro influences - There is a lot of inspiration to draw from past patterns. When more businesses set up offices in repurposed older buildings and houses, they are also willing to embrace the unique character and heritage that those houses have to offer. Mid-Century Modern-inspired furniture's clean lines are very much in style right now, but some other suggestions for this trend include designing with vintage-inspired colour palettes, including repurposed-material pieces, or combining antiques with modern pieces.
- Flexible, open spaces that allow for balance - Another theme expected to carry on to 2020 and beyond is modular layouts. Companies are rising and evolving so rapidly that the variety of furniture and office configurations that can keep up is inevitable. Also, versatile layouts make it simple to build a variety of spaces such as private enclaves, shared spaces and quiet semi-private areas that accommodate a variety of working styles.
- Blended, activity-based design - The generations to come to flourish in collective, collaborative environments. Even, however, there is a need for privacy and attention. Accessible floor plans may offer an ideal solution, with a variety of functional spaces. This notion of mixed-use space forms the basis for the number two trend in workspace design. Blended offices offer a combination of workspaces that are private, semi-private and open. That makes the most of any form of space's benefits.
- Employee appeal design - A key business issue is hiring and retaining top talent. Particularly Millennials are looking for workplaces that embrace their lifestyle. Often that means jobs with positive, enjoyable, comfortable facilities. Favoured facilities include lounge spaces and enticing food offerings. Workout rooms, outdoor break areas and leisure activities make up the list as well. Modern furniture and advanced technologies will further affect the mind of an applicant. Combined, these features send a message that employers care about their workers ' health. This development in the design of workplaces will make all the difference in their job selection for most of the talent pool.
- Integrating technology design - On-the-job training is nothing new. Here, the trend is to design offices which incorporate digital business processes and technology. A top concern is to hide the masses of wires that go with tech. Hiding wires topped the list in a Fast Company list of top trends in workplace architecture. Eliminating wires and debris from desktops and meeting rooms was a key customer concern, one designer cited.
- The 150 feet from food rule - If we look at Google's headquarters in New York, Googlers think there is an aura of diversity in the city itself and that is mirrored in the workplace. No part of the office reaches 150 feet from food whether it is a restaurant, coffee lounge or cafeteria, workers are encouraged to eat more, talk more and inspire more, most importantly.
- Micro-multinational design - To successfully reinvent the workplace, one needs to reconsider how we live and operate on a much broader level as this age of multi-micro national co-workers is transforming the way our society is structured. In turn, society is based on community, and those set to build for co-working do their best to concentrate on the community to encourage the diversity that interdisciplinary collaboration demands.
Workplace design strategies
Workplace strategy involves the goals and principles of an organisation-what is it trying to accomplish and how is it trying to achieve it? These messages are formulated and distributed through a range of subtle and not-so-subtle forms of communication. They have a positive effect if done well, on employee engagement, productivity and creativity. They hinder the ability to deliver on the company's brand when handled poorly due to inconsistent, infrequent or confusing messaging. This is the area where strategic planning comes in. Changing the workplace. Modern office environments today need to respond constantly to changing changes in human productivity and values. An adaptable design strategy will help your business recognize and meet the diverse needs of individual employees in an environment that encourages community culture, teamwork and the overall team happiness.
It is important to understand the workplace strategy. When a company embarks on a renovation or overhaul project it goes well beyond just holding the rain out or the lights on any part of the organisation. In reality, it is a perfect time for both parties to think about how the corporate vision and values can be expressed in the work environment and thus promote a performance-maximizing climate. To build an efficient organisational plan, there are several avenues to collect information, but most of that feedback would not appear in the annual report of a business. Instead, observations about drivers of company, expectations and priorities come from evaluation, focus groups, surveys, and interviews. It also needs a commitment to consider the society in which people work for designers and be better equipped and solve the physical space and technology challenges required to achieve the employee's desired behaviours.
Effective design can help businesses achieve that success by developing an environment that promotes interaction with their employees. Disengagement has reached epidemic proportions among American employees. Just about 30% of workers are fully involved in their jobs, according to a 2013 Gallup study. Many in the millennial generation are the most likely to say that if the labour market improves, they will leave their current jobs in the next year. Just 41 per cent of workers said they knew what their business stands for and what separates them from their rivals. Writing an empowering mission statement is much simpler than having workers to make the mission of the organisation to attract and retain an engaged workforce.
It is also important to ask the right questions for your strategy. Some of these include:
- What are the organisation’s goals and values?
- What can companies do to energize and engage the workforce?
- How can the workplace impact productivity?
- How can design innovations help improve quality of life and work?
- What does success look like?
To adopt a people-centred and strategic design approach is a powerful way to address the relentless changes and challenges in the workplace, maximize outcomes and reward efforts with achievement, satisfaction and joy.
2020 is the year for taking a new look at your workers and finding out how best to help and inspire them in your working environment. You will probably boost teamwork when you do so; increase satisfaction, innovation, and productivity; and even attract and retain more top-notch talent. You will set yourself apart as a great place to work by communicating your company culture with an improved workspace. Evidence-based workplace design changes include enhanced productivity and increased health for workers. It reduces stress, makes wayfinding easier and improves protection. This research-based approach enhances both occupancy and financial results for employers. It also improves the productivity and retention of staff and decreases absenteeism. Industry analysts expect data-based design will be the future trend in workplace design.
Kudzai Derera is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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