The way your office is designed affects every aspect of your work. So whether you’ve been working in a cubicle for the past 10 years, or your office furniture hasn’t been updated since the ‘90s—your office needs some sprucing up.
According to Janice Stevenor Dale, president of interior design company JSDA Inc., “Design can change everything, from your environment, to the way your clients perceive your business to the opportunity to achieve your business goal.”
If you’re looking to modify your office, but need some ideas as to how to make it as productive as possible, here are some trends in office design right now that may inspire you as you make your next move:
The opportunity to move around the office
Over the past few years, open offices have been gaining traction. However, not all employees can work in that environment. Some need peace and quiet, while others prefer to work alone. That’s why your office should include a variety of spaces where employees can complete their work.
“One trend I’ve been seeing a lot of is this idea of activity-based working, where an office is designed to provide a tapestry of spaces within the office environment where employees can collaborate, have private conversations, and get individual work done effectively,” says Stephen Searer, who runs OfficeSnapshots.com. “The most important part though is to not just add collaborative zones or open offices because they are popular or to save money; add them if your employees need them to be maximally effective.”
According to Tamara Romeo, the CEO and founder of San Diego Office Design, interior designers are now creating offices that mimic coffee shops. “As designers, we have been challenged to create a more ‘Starbucks-esque’ environment, in which people can move from a bar-height group table, to a living room style setting, and then to a desk—all within one shift at work,” she says.
Employees need options. The furniture that business owners are purchasing for their workers give them the freedom to choose how they can be most productive.
The Office Stylist Sayeh Pezeshki says convertible desks are in right now. “What’s the point in being stuck with something when your needs can change during the workday or week-to-week?” she asks.
What does Stevenor Dale notice? Many offices are using desks with overhead bins that lift like garage doors, desks with places where pets can sleep, millwork desks that are concealed within fully retracting doors, desks that become beds, and height-adjustable standing desks.
If employees want more than just a desk to work on, they can try out a phone booth, which blocks out noise and includes a desk, chair, electrical sockets, and lighting. Plus, it can be placed anywhere. Searer recommended one from Framery Acoustics.
“Companies traditionally had to build in permanent phone rooms adjacent to open plan desks, but now have the option of utilizing moveable furniture-based solutions instead,” he says.
All-in-one desks and workspaces are a big hit among employees. Like flexible furniture, they allow employees to choose where they want to work, because they’re not stuck where the electrical sockets are located.
Pezeshki says desks with built-in plug-ins for devices are popular right now. And Romeo says that furniture with power and data ports built into the arms and legs are being utilized because they accommodate wireless working.
Emphasis on lighting and sunshine
It’s been proven that natural light in the office serves as a mood-booster. It makes employees more productive and contributes to their overall well-being.
For her clients in both Chicago and Los Angeles, Stevenor Dale built indoor and outdoor workspaces. “Suburban and low-rise clients are loving indoor-outdoor spatial connections, where not only is there a strong visual connection to the landscape, but a physical path for working outdoors at different times of day: rooftop gardens and exterior patios with textural and softened conference and lounge seating,” she says. “[It offers] a chance to catch some vitamin D through a few rays of sunshine each day.”
Designing your new space
The way your office is designed is crucial to your company’s success. If you’re bored of your current space, a new layout that reflects your company might be the solution.
“Remember that your office design can be a fantastic asset to attract and retain your most valuable employees, as well as looking attractive to investors or potential buyers,” says Romeo. “Taking time to consider your company’s mission, vision, and brand and incorporating it visually into your space is just smart business.”