Workplace Design Spotlights for 2018
More and more companies are realising the real impact workplace design has on productivity and a company's bottom line. Poor workplace design costs businesses significantly in lost productivity and revenue each year. What key workplace capacities are being spotlighted in 2018?
Storage was once seen to serve a purely functional purpose. While it was usually finished in the same material as other furniture within the office space, it didn't go much further than that.
Recently furniture has become more of a design feature for the workplace. Not only does storage furniture provide functionality but is also able to provide additional style and character to a workspace.
Functional aspects are still important, but they are beginning to change. Hot desking and limited space has meant that lockers are a more common sight. Storage furniture is also being used more to divide up areas within open spaces and as additional soft seating areas.
Storage designs and styles have developed. They are becoming something you'd more likely expect in a domestic setting. Natural finishes, minimalistic designs and handle-less designs are all contributing to this.
Activity-Based Design (Activity Based Working)
This trend is the combination of two factors– the need for increased privacy and designing to promote collaboration. Together these can't work in the same space. Activity-based design provides separate areas suited for a particular work-style dependent on the task.
The open office aims to increase collaboration but many employees want more privacy to allow them to focus. We've seen the introduction of pods in the last few year to provide privacy. These are often small, brightly coloured cubicles for short periods of escape. These need to be strategically placed to remove background noise and reduce the risk of interruption.
On the other hand, activity-based workplaces can provide quiet zones. These areas show that people want to concentrate and don't want interruptions while reducing any background noise. Some workplaces have introduced silent areas as part of an activity-based working set-up.
Activity-based working also allows for specific areas which aid collaboration. Research has found that the majority of workers believe they are more efficient when they can work closely with others. Each area needs to be designed to promote its specified use, from acoustics to the layout of the furniture. This also means employees have options on how to work, making them feel more empowered and engaged.
Furniture that helps promote collaboration and sharing will grow. For example, monitor arms that let people turn and show their screen to others nearby are growing more popular. Tables with built-in touchscreens, which enable people to collaborate on projects in real-time, will also be embraced across workplaces.
Furniture and equipment that allow quick set-up and connections will be a high priority in 2018. Workplaces will continue to look at new ways for employees to connect to power and displays.
Wireless charging will become even more popular as more devices are released that support the feature. We can definitely expect to see more furniture with integrated wireless charging.
Also expect to see a growing number of solutions that offer connections to shared displays with the aim to promote collaboration. Shared tables with built-in displays will find a place in more workplaces.
Designing for Well-Being
Well-being will continue to thrive this year. Wellness programmes that offer employees health and fitness facilities have been around for some time. From sit-stand desks to the placement and design of staircases, more architects and designers will use such methods to encourage movement throughout the day.
There are many studies showing the negative health effects long periods of sitting can have. The popularity of sit-stand desks has grown massively in recent years yet still just a small percentage have access to sit-stand. Studies indicate sit-stand desks have a positive impact on both physical health and mental well-being - reducing musculoskeletal discomfort such as back, neck and shoulder pain, and relieving stress and increasing productivity. With benefits such as reductions in staff absences and presenteeism, an increasing number of employers will begin to offer sit-stand.
The well-being trend has been partly responsible for the rise of biophilic design (the natural world). Most of the studies on biophilic design focus on the effect it has on productivity rather than well-being. Research has shown the positive effect features such as plants, natural light, and views of nature have on employees. According to research, offices with plants and natural light can increase productivity and creativity, yet a significant proportion of employees work in offices with no natural light nor greenery. When such a large portion of our lives are spent inside, bringing the outside inside is important.
Incorporating greenery has been a developing trend with one of the most popular ways to incorporate this been living walls. These are not only an impressive design feature but are also often used to represents a company's commitment to the environment.
More employers recognise that taking care of their employees’ wants and needs means a healthier, happier workplace and, in turn, increased productivity, higher retention and an improved bottom line.
Many of the key decision makers of the next few years have experienced both cubicles and the open office. They are aware of how the workplace can affect the people that work within it. We'll hopefully see the impact of this as more companies place workplace design high on their list of priorities.
Workplace design aims to improve the work environment to create a place where employees can work more productively and collaborate with ease. Talk to Empire Office Furniture to assist with designing and fitting out your workspace.