The modern office is no static thing; it shifts and evolves as workers' and managers' needs change. Innovations and advancements in office furniture help us rethink traditional concepts around work and office layouts. The theme for 2018 office design is "vitality." Creating a workspace that is designed to engage the workforce, improving the space and the layout of the work flow.
Here are five trends to expect in 2018.
Collaboration is without a doubt a real buzzword over the last few years. Love it or hate it, open layouts will continue to be more collaborative and flexible. Office spaces are developing and adapting to accommodate this. Perimeter offices are disappearing, floor plans are opening up, and trendy breakout areas and cafes are replacing the rigid, closed layouts of the past.
Employees are increasingly taken away from their desks and traditional seating to work in comfy lounge pieces. Companies that invest in a flexible workplace are generally interested in attracting younger talent and making their workers feel more at home. Expect to see more portable furniture and reconfigurable systems allowing work areas to be more multifunctional.
Greening or biophilic design
A popular trend in recent years has been bringing nature and aspects of biophilic design into the office. Research has shown the positive effect features such as plants, natural light, and views of nature have on employees. According to a report by Human Spaces, offices with natural elements can increase productivity by 8 percent and well-being by 13 percent.
Artificial and real plants are an easy way to bring nature into the office. Biophilic design can extend beyond adding plants to also incorporate natural textures, patterns and materials in other elements such as glass partitions, lighting, and wall coverings.
With 86 percent of American workers sitting at a desk most of the day, wellness is a theme that has become a major focus for businesses and employees. To prevent aches, pains and injuries related to sitting, typing and leaning throughout the day, businesses are seeking out the latest ergonomically correct pieces.
Moveable keyboards, sit-to-stand desks, monitor risers and ergo friendly chairs are just a few of the pieces that offices are using to create a more active and healthy office. Dedicated lounge areas allow employees to relax, refuel and interact with their co-workers in a more informal, comfortable environment.
Thanks to portable technology including laptops and smartphones, even lounge areas can quickly transform into collaborative, productive workspaces.
Some companies incorporate light recreational amenities such as Ping-Pong and pool tables as stress relievers.
Much of today's jobs depend on technology and our dependence continues to increase as time goes by. Clunky computers have been replaced by laptops, keyboards/mice/headsets have become wireless.
The move toward flexible working has ensured a continuing need for integrated chargers and power points in offices. Powered furniture with built-in power adapters and multimedia capabilities that benefit both employees and clients who visit the offices have become a significant trend.
Color and texture
With the rise of streamlined layouts, texture and color have become the way for a workplace to introduce a playful side. Incorporating a variety of textures materials and patterns create a look that's cohesive, visually interesting and engaging. Reclaimed wood panel installations, exposed concrete flooring, and incorporating natural flora patterns in fabrics and artwork are all becoming more prominent.
Organizations are also trying to reinforce a sense of community and loyalty through branding and integrating their own culture and values within the workplace. Color palettes, furniture, environmental graphics and build narratives all contribute.
As office design continues to evolve, the most important aspect is that the design reflects the individual company, there is no one size fits all solution.
• Wendy Pike is president of Twist Office Partners with offices in Wood Dale.