Your business’s company culture is reflected in your office design. If you have old, uncomfortable furniture and a lack of sunlight in your space, your employees can feel dissatisfied, disengaged and even less productive. Today, it’s more important than ever for employees to feel comfortable, relaxed and motivated in their working environment.
Whether you have an all in-person staff or several employees who work remotely, it’s critical to consider how your office design might affect your workers and business morale. Office design is directly correlated to business revenue, which shows how essential it is to revamp your current office furniture to something more efficient, customizable and reliable.
Keep reading to learn about upcoming office design trends and how they can help your business.
Consequences of an Outdated Office Design
You and your employees spend dozens of hours every week in your office, and a tired working environment or outdated designs can end up hurting your business in the long run. Let’s look at some common problems and bad ergonomics that occur in outdated offices.
Decreased Employee Productivity
Employees are your biggest asset. Working in an office that reduces their motivation and causes them stress can lead to an overall decrease in productivity. Research shows that quality and intentional design can improve productivity, collaboration and well-being. Your employee’s concentration and attitudes may also be affected by poor office design, which can interrupt your workflow and stifle creativity.
An office that lacks functionality can also be an obstacle to productivity. Consider how frustrating it may be for your employees to navigate from room to room when your layout is disorganized and doesn’t cater to their needs.
Lack of Open Space and Storage
No employee feels comfortable working in a cramped environment surrounded by clutter. As technology has changed and improved to provide computers and devices with fewer wires and less bulky components, office design must follow. Employees should have plenty of space between their desks to move freely and organize their belongings.
Communal spaces, like the lounge, conference room or reception area should also provide plenty of storage and open air for employees to work efficiently. If your workers are crowded on top of each other, it’s easy for important files to go missing or dust to collect on stacks of boxes, negatively impacting the look and feel of your office.
Lack of Natural Light
Sunlight has many benefits for all humans. However, working in an enclosed office space with few windows or access to natural light can decrease your employees’ mental health and make your office feel uninviting. Research indicates that natural lighting is one of the top things that employees value in any workplace.
Whether you’re moving to a new office or sprucing up your current one, adding both natural and artificial bright light can significantly improve sleep patterns, emotional stability, productivity and depression.
Deter Potential Clients
When designing your office with employees in mind, be sure to consider how your space looks to potential clients, partners, investors and new hires that visit your office. A poor office design can make a bad first impression on those you want to impress.
Old paint, cramped spaces, dull lighting and a messy layout can easily deter clients and encourage them to take their business elsewhere. No matter what kind of business you conduct, making a positive first impression is critical to establishing and maintaining a reputation and relationship in these partnerships.
5 Biggest Design Trends for 2022
Some of the top office design trends for 2022 capture what most people want to see in their homes. When shopping for a home, you might pay more for a better view or to be closer to the water or a park.
In your office, employees want to see those same elements that connect them to nature in a welcoming, relaxing way. Here are the five biggest commercial interior office design trends for 2022 that you can incorporate into your office design this upcoming year.
1. Biophilic Design
Biophilia relates to a love of nature, living organisms and natural systems. Biophilic office design focuses on incorporating natural resources to create a balance between modern architecture and the natural world. Even if your office is in a tall building with limited access to an outdoor space, you can still find ways to provide a closer connection to nature through thoughtful design.
As we continue through 2022 and beyond, it’s time to stray away from dull colors and monotonous rows of desks. Bringing nature inside is the best way to create a modern biophilic office design. Add water fountains, plants, flowers, fish tanks and natural wood elements to replicate the elements of nature that mimic the natural world.
The sound of water will recreate the ocean, and fish tanks can bring more life to your office in an eye-catching way. Even if your office lacks access to natural light, you can add plants that thrive in low-light spaces like cacti to add color to your space and enhance your air quality.
Other biophilic design principles to include in your office are:
Windows that can open for fresh air.
Plenty of access to daylight.
Outdoor spaces, such as a garden or patio, to go during breaks.
Natural textures and materials, such as wood tables or stone floors.
2. A Sense of ‘Home’ at Work
Comfort is a top priority for most people. Merging the comfort of home with your office can help employees feel a sense of peace and tranquility and allow them to feel more inspired in their work. As some of the workforce shifts back into full-time at the office, it’s important to include the sense of home at work in popular office trends, including:
Outdoor seating and furniture
Consider the habits of your employees who have previously worked from home. Imagine going from working in casual, comfortable clothing from the comfort of your own home to wearing a suit and sitting in a restrictive room at work. This change might have been difficult for employees to adapt to, especially if the office they return to isn’t optimized for their comfort.
To accommodate this change, try incorporating comfortable seating throughout your office or a plush couch in the lounge or breakroom so your workers can take a break from sitting at their desks all day.
Design trends of offices changed greatly after COVID-19. The main goal is to provide safety and comfort at every level to make employees feel at home. Aside from comfortable seating, you can also incorporate other residential elements, such as calming artwork and thoughtful lighting throughout the office.
Even wood flooring can bring a sense of warmth to the space. Adding rugs in working areas throughout your office can also help you create a home-like atmosphere.
3. Flexible Working Space
While making your office a comfortable, inviting space is important for motivating employees to spend more time in the office than working from home, you should also prioritize a flexible working space that combines open concept, innovative office designs with private, enclosed workspaces.
Pod style layouts include small enclaves where employees can safely work, research, engage in video conferences or make phone calls with plenty of privacy while still participating in the workspace and communal areas.
These spaces can also accommodate employees who are only in the office for one to three days while spending the rest of the week working from home. Essentially, employees want options when it comes to their workspace. Feeling like you’re locked in one room all day can become tiresome and stifle creativity.
Having a flexible working space allows you to shift the mood and feel of your office to provide plenty of options that fit all employees’ needs. For example, one employee may perform more efficiently in a coffee shop or lounge-style setting, while another may work better with a quiet, dedicated desk.
Some ways you can include versatility and collaboration within your flexible working space include:
Adding these elements to your office space can certainly encourage free-flowing collaboration and motivate your employees to try out non-traditional styles of working to uphold a creative environment.
4. Easily Transformable Offices
A transformable office is a space where employees can work wherever, whenever they want. Similar to flexible working spaces, transformable offices need to accommodate remote or hybrid office workers who can easily come and go throughout the week and work on a level that feels best for them. With a transformable office, you can convert your space to an open conference room or close it down to suit a few employees at a time.
For instance, one day you might have every employee show up to the office and need a spot for everyone to work comfortably. On some days, however, you might only have four or five employees working at the office in-person. A transformable office is an excellent option for hybrid workforces because it can suit any number of employees, even if that number changes daily.
A transformable office might have the following elements:
Furniture that expands and contracts to meet the daily population
Flexible walls that pull in and out to create separation when needed
Long tables with several charging stations
These elements are just some general ideas on how you can create a transformable, modular office space for your employees and colleagues. Maximizing your working space can help increase productivity and encourage employees to collaborate and feel more involved in company culture. If everyone has their own assigned workspace, your office may not feel as flexible or accommodating.
Employees might not feel comfortable moving from one room to the next throughout their day and want to continue their work in an environment that fits their energy levels and style of work. In a transformable office, employees can come in and collaborate on various projects or go from a standing desk to an office booth to stay concentrated and perform their best.
5. Sustainability and Green Options
Environmental impact and sustainability options are becoming increasingly important to many people, including employees. Choosing sustainable options in your office allows you to make thoughtful choices that prevent a negative impact on the environment. Today, you don’t have to choose between designing a beautiful, functional workspace and maintaining a healthy planet with sustainable materials.
You can include eco-friendly options throughout your office that show employees, clients and new hires that reducing environmental impact is a top priority for your company. Here are some ideas for sustainable offices:
Access to natural lighting
Living walls — or green walls — that create plant displays on the office interior
Maximize heating and cooling temperatures
Prioritize recycling of food waste, plastic and old devices
Keep track of your office energy use
Create a composting station
Use reusable products
Reduce paper use
Many modern offices today place an emphasis on including plant life or greenery to bring the nature of the outdoors inside. If your office space doesn’t have many windows or an outdoor space for employees to enjoy the sunshine on their break, adding a bit of nature inside can add to your overall design and create a more relaxing atmosphere.
While you can choose from many different colored plants that can set a comforting, home-like mood, plants will also provide improved air quality, oxygen flow and increased efficiency in your space. If you do have a small outdoor space or lots of natural sunlight near a big window, you can even create a small workspace garden where employees can tend to flowers or vegetation during their break time. This kind of calming activity can help workers reset their mind and learn more about how to incorporate sustainability and overall health into their own lifestyles.
Additional Design Trends for 2022 and Beyond
While commercial office design trends for 2022 and beyond focus on comfort, safety and incorporating elements of nature, there are many other ways to create a happy and healthy working environment to improve productivity. Here are some additional corporate design trends that can suit your company’s mission and values.
Neutral colors can instantly make any office feel more comfortable and easily complement pops of color for a well-balanced, enlightening space. Tans, whites, browns, beiges and grays will also act as the perfect accent to your company’s brand colors and even the landscape around you.
Neutral, lighter colors allow you to control what the mood is in your office space and where to draw the most attention. With neutral colors, you can also prevent your office from feeling too loud, overwhelming or irritating for employees who spend most of their week in the space.
In open, flexible or transformable offices, noise is inevitable. However, there are many different ways you can control this noise and make it easier for employees to concentrate and be productive. You can include sound absorption materials to help quiet down a room, including:
Rugs over flooring
Other soft materials that absorb sound waves and lower ambient noise
Between ringing phones, clicking on keyboards and chattering conversation, it can be easy for your office to become too loud. An emphasis on noise reduction can help reduce distracting or stressful side effects for employees.
With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and organizations have begun to rethink their interior design and office layouts to provide a safer, healthier working space and comply with OSHA and CDC guidelines. This means that many employers are focusing on reducing touchpoints, such as doorknobs, handles and buttons, and incorporating more hard surfaces that can be easily cleaned and sanitized.
You can even include a maximum capacity for certain rooms in your office and place hand sanitizer stations throughout the space to encourage practicing healthy habits.
Adding wallcoverings — similar to wallpaper paneling — to your office space can open up many creative options for different patterns, textures and colors that add dimension and warmth to your space. These surfaces are easy to clean and maintain and allow you to completely transform your space to make employees and visitors instantly feel welcome and comfortable.
A strategically placed backdrop or accent wall in your coffee lounge, reception area or collaborative working space for teamwork can enhance the overall mood and add personality to any office. These designs can also easily complement any existing color palettes or neutral materials and generate a more productive, creative environment.
Mixing Old and New Design Elements
Another office design trend is pairing old and new elements together to create a fusion of the past and present. From retro to geometric patterns and pops of color to muted tones of ivory and beige, you can pair different elements that work well together and create a unique space.
Whether you want to add new artwork, change the flooring or paint the walls different colors, looking to past and current trends can help you determine how to make your office stand out and remain balanced simultaneously. For example, you can mix different metal finishes, add a patterned rug on top of a solid concrete floor or pair an antique desk with a bright, modern chair for an alternative design spin.
Adding Spaces for Leisure
Having a space for employees to relax is just as necessary as thoughtful design in their workspace. Whether you have a mostly in-person staff or a hybrid workforce, it’s important that your common areas include ways that employees can unwind and take a break from work every once in a while.
You can also design a leisure space to allow employees to work away from their desks, but it’s a good idea to keep these spaces work-free so your staff can put their minds at ease. Some creative ways you can include leisure spaces in your office include:
Comfortable seating, such as beanbag chairs or hammocks
Recreational spaces to do calming activities, like yoga or watching movies
Fitness centers to promote exercise
Cereal or snack bar
Library rooms for reading
Sound systems that allow employees to choose and play their favorite music
Office Design Trends That Are Dying Out
Now that you have some ideas of popular, modern trends for office design, let’s take a look at some outdated corporate design trends in 2022 that may be impacting your space more negatively than you think.
Large, immovable desks
Physical filing systems or bulky, oversized cabinets
Generic, business-like spaces
Clutter that creates visual overload
Desk phones or desktop computers that prevent mobility
Typography or abstract art
Enhance Your Office Space With Arnold’s Office Furniture
Improving your office design has endless benefits, including making employees feel more comfortable, relaxed, productive and creative — no matter how many hours a week they spend at work.
At Arnold’s, we know how important it is to have a flexible, customizable workstation. Our Sunline Sliding Cubicle Systems provide the transformation the modern workplace has been craving while allowing employees to move to a quiet place for concentration when they need it. We’ve stepped up our cubicle game and offer a new kind of design that meets the ever-changing popular trends and office layouts.
Whether you’re moving to a new office or wish to renovate or redecorate your current one, Arnold’s Office Furniture has plenty of options for comfortable, customizable furniture and systems that work well in an open plan or traditional style office. To get started on your next office project, request a quote today or contact us with any questions.
Alissa has over 25 years of experience in the office furniture industry. For many of those years, Alissa was a Senior Interior Designer. She then took her love of design and working with customers to the sales realm and has been dedicating her knowledge there ever since. Learn more about Alissa!