Flexibility has been a significant trend as the workforce has become increasingly more mobile. The open office layout is adapting, and this trend will allow for some improvisation. Furnishings and integrated components that can be combined and moved around to perform numerous tasks are part of the new trend that could end the traditional, static office layout. These once private spaces are being redesigned; the merging of mobile furniture and collaborative office design will provide companies with the opportunity to create custom multipurpose workspaces.
With 2016 coming to an end, the holiday season seems like as good time as any to say out with the old and in with the new. Which translates to: knock out the old walls that block all natural light, the separation of departments, and other design elements that are a buzzkill, and in with these creative solutions that will bring your staff together so they can be at their best. Below are office trends that will continue into 2017:
Multi-Purpose Work Spaces
The age of the cubicle has ended and the open concept has taken over. Multi-purpose work spaces are being utilized for everything from too casual breakout areas to multimedia presentations. The demand for workplace flexibility will be reinforced by buildings that let organizations, teams, and individuals shape space on the fly. Space will become more democratic as companies embrace agile, autonomous teams. Not only are cubicles disappearing, but now their replacement, the bench, is being overtaken by non-assigned seating. Also, expect to see more oval-shaped office desks, which allow for a more convenient place for multiple people to meet, as well as a shift towards adjustable tables for flexible meetings. Here are some tips for utilizing your space:
Use wall space for storing almost everything.Wall storage above the desk gives you room for tools and materials for other activities without taking up floor space. Every office needs areas conducive to organization and creativity. Think vertically and take advantage of wall space so you don’t spread out too wide and become disorganized. Use vertical shelves for storage and notetaking, vertical wall files for projects, mail, and paper decluttering. You can even hang a white board to quickly write down important reminders.
Make your furniture mobile.
Flexibility is a continuously growing trend as traditional office spaces are giving way for the constant change in the workspace landscape. Movable office furniture and other elements can be stacked, mixed, and moved around, offering several combinations for collaborative workspaces. For example, casters on the desk allow it to be rolled around; but be sure to lock the casters so your desk doesn’t roll around while you are working.
To accommodate more people with fewer desks, companies are turning to open office strategies such as desk sharing and free desking. Driven by changing work styles, the walls are coming down as today’s workplaces are changing. Perimeter offices are disappearing, floor plans are opening up, and breakout community areas are replacing the closed layout designs of the past.
Designated Lounge Areas. Collaboration is on the rise, and lounge areas are a great way to create a comfortable, collaborative work environment and allow maximum comfort and idea sharing between employees. Offices will now see more dedicated lounge areas to make working more enjoyable and relaxing. Giving employees time to relax reduces the chance of employee burnout and significantly lowers levels of stress.
Community Tables. Community tables are a great addition to any office area. In this day, people are glued to their digital devices, and community tables are a nice way to reach out to others in the workplace. People are looking for more interaction at work, and the community table is a symbol of kinship that is becoming an important part of the work environment.
Spaces Organized by Color
There have been several studies that state color boosts creativity, productivity, and happiness. A lot of office spaces are adding pops of color and textures in unexpected ways. This makes sense why there is such a wide color spectrum of office accessories and furniture on the market. Different colors convey different things; whether you paint your walls blue or purple matters. For example, the color red can help get your employees’ blood flowing while green walls can help your team feel welcomed and at home. If your employees are constantly running around having to meet tight deadlines, consider the calming color of blue. Products with a rich material vocabulary provide designers with the opportunity to be original and bold—to use color and texture to create a more varied, inspiring, and personalized work environment.
Office design matters, certainly to those inhabiting a workspace. The workplace is all about choice and control for both employees and employers. Flexibility, in the ways people work and in office layouts and uses, is becoming the most effective way for companies to get the best people for the best work. As employee productivity is becoming more about the idea of community and collaboration, office design must reflect and support these goals by allowing space for creativity.
For more tips on the right office space for you, visit my post Choosing the Right Office Space here.
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