It seems almost impossible for some of us to imagine a return to the office after the year we have all had. That being said, businesses are more focused than ever on optimising their spaces to suit the changes in business landscape and the needs of their employees. This is having a big flow on effect for office construction and design, so we’ve summed up the office trends to consider when designing or updating your workspace post COVID-19.
Space, space and more space when designing office fitouts
Offices will be bringing the 1.5m rule indoors, with a focus on designing spaces that minimise employee risk and therefore productivity. This seems like an obvious addition for life after COVID-19 but safety concerns will also see a push for personal laptops and keyboards that can be moved with each employee instead of shared. We also know that ventilation is a key preventative factor for a number of viruses and open plan spaces seem to be the answer as they provide opportunity for windows to be opened and air to flow easily.
Bringing outside inside
The token office fiddle fig won’t cut it anymore. An excess of time spent indoors has employees looking to get their nature fix in the office. It will be important to consider adding life to a space with a green wall, plant display or courtyard that not only improves the office air quality but has been shown to improve mood and productivity. In fact, when you look deeper into the benefits, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason not to prioritise greenery in your design.
Smaller conference rooms
A push for more workplace flexibility will see employees choosing a more relaxed work schedule. Those who opt to work from home more frequently will expect to be able to dial into meetings instead of turn up in person, meaning it might be time to update your office AV system and split those larger meeting rooms into small versatile spaces.
We are only becoming more aware of the environmental impact humans are having on the planet so the trend towards reducing our impact on it will continue to extend to the work environment. This means you will see sustainable options for not only the build but the soft furnishings become the popular choices. Consider natural wood, minimally processed materials and spaces with effective natural light to reduce energy usage.
The Workplace Experience
After months at home, it’s not surprising that employee expectations of their office and workspace have changed. Workspaces will continue to become less sterile and start to mimic the home more. Think soft furnishings like couches, throws and rugs as well as more versatile kitchen spaces and ‘entertainment’ areas. The staff room will need to lift its game with a trend towards ‘work perks’ like TV’s, rest spaces and terraces to inspire.
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