We spend a considerable amount of our time working in offices, and it’s no secret that the offices of yesteryear can be a little drab and uninspiring. When you spend 40 hours of your week in a building, you would hope that you at least like the design of it! Office environments should be inspiring and energising, encouraging company employees to stay alert, work productively, and liaise with the appropriate departments. As we move into 2018, we take a look at the top office design trends that are emerging in companies across the UK and beyond.
This trend has been strong for a while now and shows little sign of going away. Largely inspired by the millennial generation, open work areas (with few walls and divisions) continue to be a mainstay of office design. Open work areas encourage employees to socialise and collaborate with their colleagues, getting more work done as a result.
Open work areas are often coupled with bright colours and furniture, as well as dedicated areas for relaxation, recreation, and laptop-based work. Who wants to sit in a bunch of cubicles that resemble a corporate prison? Open work areas encourage camaraderie, collaboration, and positive relationships. They also simply look and feel a lot nicer and less restrictive!
As we just mentioned, walls are quickly becoming a thing of the past in offices. However, sometimes partitions are necessary to some degree, as certain departments or executives may require a certain amount of privacy or quietness. In 2018, this is beginning to encourage unconventional walls. For example, some “rooms” have walls on 2 or 3 sides, creating partial rooms that are dedicated to certain activities. These “walls” may employ materials such as glass, wood, metal, or other materials.
“Living walls” are also increasingly popular, providing divisions that are covered in plant life. Often these unconventional walls may leave visible gaps that reveal their contents, or may not extend all the way up to the ceiling. Nevertheless, they serve as divisions for company departments, while maintaining an open and transparent feeling to the office.
Though most offices will be equipped with a little room featuring an old microwave, kettle, and a couple of chairs, more and more offices in 2018 are featuring extensive and well-equipped recreation rooms for their employees. Why? Because happy employees are more productive and have better morale, which leads to better loyalty and productivity.
These 2018 office recreational spaces feature hammocks, TVs, games, ping-pong tables, and even staff saunas. Offices that allow their employees to relax, recharge, and de-clutter their minds will soon see a spike in employee productivity.
2018 sees the trend of “Biophilic Design”, a design style which incorporates numerous natural materials such as wood and stone. As human beings, we are genetically programmed to like these natural materials, and thus find them aesthetically pleasing.
Who wants to look at polystyrene ceiling tiles and drab carpets when you could have wood, stone, and concrete surfaces? Wooden floors are becoming increasingly popular in office designs in 2018, as well as the aforementioned “living walls” that incorporate plant life into walls. The mix of materials also adds interesting colours and depth to an office, keeping it visually stimulating.
As 2018 rolls in, those old-fashioned fluorescent light tubes continue to sink in popularity. Known for their incessant blinking and harsh illumination, it seems unlikely that anyone will miss fluorescent office lighting.
New 2018 lighting solutions for offices include work lamps, tungsten ceiling lights, natural light (via large open windows) and smart lighting. Smart lighting can change colour and provide mood lighting on demand via systems such as the Amazon Echo or integrated tablets, and we are seeing a lot more offices installing it in 2018.