Find out how the humble home will be influencing office design in 2017.
As we enter 2017, the wellbeing of employees remains central to office design, with a noticeable shift towards home-inspired interiors.
Clients are seeking a warmer and more homely feel for their offices, providing employees with a welcoming and secure environment. As such, the modern workplace is being inspired by domestic interiors. Natural flooring or textured carpets, and desks made from timbers, rather than laminate, are all becoming more popular. Teapoints, too, are reflecting the home with quality surfaces that are durable and aesthetically pleasing. We are also seeing an emphasis on craftsmanship, with clients taking an interest in bespoke joinery and investing in furniture that will stand the test of time. We expect to see more of this in 2017.
Biophilia was a key trend in 2016 and we think this will continue. The importance of natural light and plants is evident in the evolution of office design. These features can help increase job performance and satisfaction, as well as create a sense of calm and refuge. When it comes to living walls, we do expect to see a move from live plants to freeze-dried plants which are easier to maintain yet provide the same feel. As the trend for natural resources in office design continues, we also anticipate seeing more water inspired palettes, fabrics and finishes.
Developing flexible areas that allow employees to work, engage and collaborate will be an essential element of design this year. Part of designing flexible layouts is to ensure no single space offers only one use - areas and furniture should adapt to new and changing requirements. For example, a breakout area can become desk space if needed.
Offices also need to be designed with longevity in mind. Gimmicks which can date quickly and aren’t to every employee’s taste, will make way for more sensible features and areas that mimic a domestic environment instead. It’s all about striking a balance between a relaxed yet productive environment that suits a variety of working styles and personalities. It’s the basics that resonate with employees the most – good coffee and a tap that boils to a good temperature for tea or personal storage and lockers, for example, shouldn’t be overlooked.
Technology will undoubtedly continue to influence the workplace in 2017, although it remains to be seen what the next big office technology trend will be. Whilst there’s tongue-in-cheek talk of hologram receptionists and virtual reality continues to evolve, ultimately, we are social beings. People need people, so there is still the need for office design that brings people together.
Workplaces are centres of interaction and this trend will continue to rise with more space allocated to collaboration, instead of areas for lone working. Even access to third-spaces such as coffee shops and co-working spaces will be an important part of any workplace strategy and office design.
Overall, we anticipate that office design is set to move towards comfort - from its physical qualities to its support for employees. Companies should invest in their employee’s environment creating a versatile, comfortable space that empowers, offers stability and encourages productivity.