When it comes to successful office design, there are many things to think about, from whether the space is fit for purpose, the people working in it, the nature of the business and its needs, and how the design reflects the company’s image and ethos.
With the rapid pace of change in how we work, the technology we use and the standards employees expect, workplaces need are required to adapt quickly. For example, one of the biggest focuses in recent years is to make offices social, healthy and happy. A trend that was once limited to areas like London’s startup and small business centre, Shoreditch, has now spread around the country.
Here are some of the ways that our offices are evolving.
Bamboo walls and nature inspired décor is taking over offices, following research has shown that office spaces that mimic the great outdoors have a positive impact on staff happiness. Offices are also taking more advantage of outdoor space, and integrating it into everyday practice, for example, by conducting meetings outside. Large corporations are incorporating green spaces into their building designs, while smaller companies like Proper Office, a serviced office space in Shoreditch, offer a shared roof garden space, for example.
But this isn’t the only way that companies are going green. More and more offices are making it easier to recycle, and are using renewable energy sources, carbon offsets and locally sourced food, as well as cutting down on food waste and having more meat-free days, serving more plant-based food for employees.
Agile offices are becoming increasingly important, in order to offer employees more choice in how they work. For example, by offering breakout rooms, portable furniture, removable office features and modular furniture.
Offices are starting to offer employees somewhere to really relax, unwind and recharge. This could be on the form of nap pods, TVs. Sofas, meditation spaces, even saunas. Chillout zones are the new thing to have – whether it’s with games, sports or pure relaxation, employers are seeing the benefits of giving employees the option of having a proper break from work.
Virtual and augmented reality are making their way into office culture with virtual office walls, training via in-field scenarios, as well as other hardware and software designed to close gaps and employee training and wellbeing, as well as client entertainment and working with remote workers.
Seeing the light
Research suggests that employee productivity declines if they’re stationed more than 7.5 metres from a window, and that exposure to natural light can reduce anxiety and stress, and put us in a better mood. Employers are doing this with skylights and translucent panels where possible, as well as desktop UV lamps or natural-spectrum bulbs.
Celebrating the individual
Individuality is becoming increasingly prioritised in modern offices, and no longer are employees expected to all work at uniform desks, in an open-plan office or behind a cubicle. More and more offices allow employees to switch up how they work according to their own preferences and schedule.
This means offices are full of quirky features allowing workers to meet their specific needs, and what this looks like varies from office to office, workforce to workforce. But it does mean offices are becoming less homogenous, and overall, much more flexible places to spend our days.