We need people to come back to the office - not because they have to but because they want to. In the myriad of changes brought upon our society by COVID, the change in people’s expectations of their office is significant.

Giles Dooley

Head of Furniture

27th Jul 2020

Office furniture will dictate the future success of our workplaces. Not just because of the ergonomic and aesthetic benefits, but because furniture is inextricably linked to people. Chosen wisely, it can inspire, boost wellbeing and ultimately, encourage collaboration.

A recent Morgan Lovell survey of 500 office workers confirmed the great divide in our workforce. 42% of workers want to return to the office whilst the same amount are reluctant to leave the security and comfort of home. Within those bare statistics lies a rainbow of additional requirements that leaders of future workplaces will need to recognise and respond to.

Making informed choices about furniture design and layout will ensure our post COVID offices are reimagined in a human-centric way. It will provide reassurance, trust and safety for those most apprehensive and will allow the carefree to maximise their productivity, reconnect and collaborate.

A flexible future

Flexibility and agile working have been top of the agenda for many years and I predict that this trend will accelerate. While there will be a rise in demand for office furniture at home, the real changes will happen in the office.

Our survey results reveal the majority of people want to see more mobile and flexible furniture solutions in their office.

In the short-term, it makes sense to implement moveable screens to counter microbe transmission. In the medium-to-long term, we will maintain a need for different work settings - not only based on our pandemic experiences but also for the benefits of raised productivity.

Nothing changes if nothing changes

Untethering anchored spaces, breaking down traditional fixed layouts and blurring boundaries will be embraced in the future. Flexibility will be key in creating flexible office layouts; allowing companies to scale their space and easily move furniture around to suit the needs of their teams. Meeting pods that can be easily relocated, along with high-backed sofas that can change the dynamic of a space, will become increasingly popular.

The versatile meeting room that can expand into a town hall space will be able to be repositioned as a connected breakout area thanks to modular furniture solutions.

Technology-enabled productivity will continue relentlessly when we begin to return to the office. Over 40% of the 500 want more video conferencing facilities in the office so that they can avoid travelling to meetings. The associated requirements for physical privacy and refined acoustic performance will be catered for by these versatile spaces and furniture solutions.

A smart future

Investment in smart furniture will stand the test of time due to its inherent flexibility. It will play a key role in reassuring people that the office can be shaped to quell their anxieties and will maximise the efficiency of the office footprint.

The decisions made now in this ever-changing landscape will arguably have more significance on your business than ever before.