As we approach the end of the year, we take a look back at 2016’s hottest office design trends. Experts agree that the overall themes are efficiency and flexibility. Offices of the past consisted of a maze of cubicles, minimal light and a constant rhythm of voices and keyboards. Today’s offices are dynamic and collaborative, placing an emphasis on employee productivity and efficiency. We sat down with Sheila Wood, Business Development Manager at Izzy+, who is passionate about sustainability not just in professional atmosphere but in her personal life as well. She provided us with four office design tips:
Create a Third Space
One can think of a Third Space as a location between workstations and formal meeting rooms, a home-away-from-home, rather than high panel cubicles and traditional boardroom conference tables. This space is the key to breaking the routine and monotony in an office. Since no one in their right mind enjoys sitting at their desk in front of a computer for hours at a time, this space creates impromptu meetings and allows employees to stand, move around and get more done, in a more relaxed office environment.
Flexible Open Plan
Today’s design trends are all about flexibility and adaptability. A space should be visually appealing and should allow for multiple uses. This can include a conference room that can adapt depending on the situation, furniture, such as mobile tables, that can be moved, stacked or changed, based on the situation and/or growth, and tables that can be used for anything – whether it’s collaborative team work or a party. By having a flexible open plan, you can create an untraditional setting that allows for different options for your employees. Another trend is oval shaped desks that let’s 4-6 people congregate as well as height adjustable tables for standing meetings.
Collaboration and Connection
Collaboration is key, not only amongst each other but also with technology. Subtle changes, like moving printers to different areas of the office, instead of on each individual desk, encourages movement, leading to new ideas and collaboration from different departments. By creating more movement in an office, you create greater efficiences and potential collaboration. According to Herman Miller, VP of Design at Poppin, “Offices now mandate the inclusion of dedicated lounge areas to make working more enjoyable.”
Health and Personal Wellness
Health and personal wellness is typically thought of as a luxury rather than a priority in the office. With easily accessible fast food and donuts or bagels on Fridays, you can see how easy it is to “fall of the bandwagon”. Increased production can come from an emphasis on health and wellness in office design, as well as a decrease in the number of employee absentees.
Here are some suggestions:
• Standing height tables
• A few small break areas that can also act as a meeting space, vs. just having one large cafeteria that only gets used once per day.
• Have seating near windows that allows for people to move around and enjoy sunlight.
• Making sure stairways are visible so people choose to take the stairs over the elevators.
Need a little inspiration in your next office design? Visit the 2020 Inspiration Awards for Office Designers gallery.
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