Acoustics
Indoor climate and well-being
Industry trends
Interior design

Corporate office design trends: 2022 and beyond

1 January 1

Workplaces have changed in ways that would have been unthinkable just two years ago as the global pandemic has changed office spaces irrevocably. Office interior design is definitely in a period of exciting transition.

Cellular Office with Rockfon Mono Acoustic in Spaces Platinium co-working office, Warsaw, Poland

Prior to the global pandemic, many businesses had opted for an open working environment. Post-pandemic, employers are taking their open office layouts one step further to accommodate much greater flexibility where anyone can work at anytime, anywhere. 

Human-centric office spaces are adaptable and safe, fuelling productivity and well-being. Shared, unassigned spaces and adaptable worker zones can be configured in a variety of ways to ensure that every worker gets what they need. This new trend fosters and promotes creativity, ingenuity and allows workers to work how they want, when they want, the way they want. 

In this article, we'll discuss these important trends in office design, talk about the advantages (as well as the disadvantages!) of these new office designs and provide solutions to potential downsides. If you run a business in an office space, here's what you need to know. 

Trends in office design   

Flexible workspaces  

Flexible workspaces provide employees with options regarding where and how they work. When the employee comes to the office, they may choose from a variety of workstations. This may include a table with a bench, a cubicle for privacy, a couch to recline and sit comfortably, or a meeting room for collaborative sessions. Workstation are not assigned to individuals.

20130801_RW-RF_PHO_002386

Flexible workspaces vary greatly from one organisation to another, but they typically have some elements in common: 

  • Private spaces: Private spaces - like pods, cubicles and empty rooms — give employees somewhere to go when they need to work somewhere away from others. Private spaces also help with noise control. 
  • Variety of workstations: To meet the needs of many people, flexible office spaces have a variety of workstations including standing desks, sitting desks, conference tables and so on. These workstations also have a variety of lighting types including artificial and natural lighting, to create a different environment for each person. 
  • Centralised resources: Flexible workspaces have shared resources for every person, including shared photocopiers, printers, shared kitchen area and so on. 

Human-centric workspaces  

It is easy to forget that offices do not organise and operate themselves, but rather rely on focused individuals working together as an effective group. Every facet of office life is dependent on the well-being and productivity of the individuals who work there, from the responsibilities assigned to HR staff to the friendly "hello" of the receptionist.  

20220117 RW-CEE PHO 713

Everyone, it turns out, wants to be happy at work. According to JLL's Global Research Study, 69% of workers believe that a sense of happiness is a crucial component of a distinctly human experience within an organisation, and 87% want a Chief Happiness Officer[1]. This demonstrates a genuine desire for fulfilment at work. 

What doesn't make us happy? Cube farms are unappealing. We are wired to want to feel like we are a part of something and that we have a say in it. Naturally, the ability to make choices is a crucial aspect of who we are as a species. 

  • Community: Collaboration furniture allows us to gather as a group, to discuss ideas and get to know one another. A sense of community at work fosters trust in both our employer and our co-workers. 
  • Ergonomics: Adjustable height desks and chairs provide our bodies with the tools they require to stay healthy at work. Whether we are seated or standing, maintaining biomechanical stability is critical to employee satisfaction. 
  • Privacy: Modern cubicle workstations are no longer drab and uncomfortably tight, but elegant and effective office furniture choices that come with a plethora of design options. 
  • Autonomy: Give your team the opportunity to work somewhere they can accomplish their best whether at a workstation in the office or from home. Make everything possible for them to succeed. 
  • Acoustics: Install acoustic furnishings to reduce noise. Some people don’t operate well with music or much talking. Some of us require the sound of silence to concentrate. 
  • Biophilia: Bring nature into the workplace by bringing plants in. Humans want biophilia because it relieves stress. Greenery also brightens and improves the appearance of the office. 
SE, World Trade Center, Malmö, Horisont Arkitekter AB, Office, Rockfon Blanka, M-edge, 1200x600, White, Chicago Metallic 2890 T24 Click, OPen Plan Office

Why are we seeing these office design trends?  

Productivity  

Flexible workspaces are designed to be changed at a moment's notice, there need not be a space that's perfect for every occasion. Groups can pull up chairs, rearrange tables and find a spot that's right for the type of work they are trying to do at any point during their working day.

We each have our own natural circadian rhythm providing different levels of energy and alertness at different times of the day. Being able to move from one zone to another will help us maximise performance.   

Accommodating remote working  

People who work remotely most of the time can come into the office when they need to, find an available spot and plugin. Since they only need to work in the office occasionally, this is far more practical than keeping assigned desks for office workers.   

Healthy workspaces   

Flexible workspaces are easily adapted to the need to socially distance. Their adaptability also makes them easily configured for any health needs of team members.   

Scalability  

For growing businesses, finding enough workspace for additional team members is a challenge. Flexible workspaces are perfect for businesses that anticipate a lot of growth in the coming year(s). Without extra walls to be moved or removed, flexible offices can easily be operated near to maximum capacity, which can delay (or eliminate) the need to move when new employees are hired.   

Since there is no assigned workspace, workers can come to the office in staggered shifts, which also makes it possible for the business to grow without moving to a new space.   

Sustainability  

Because flexible workspaces are very space-efficient, they're also very sustainable. Flexible workspaces often require less energy for heating and cooling. They also tend to be open office layouts, which are often bright, airy spaces, filled with natural light and overall easy to maintain.   

Troubleshooting open and flexible workspaces  

No workspace is perfect. There are downsides to open offices and flexible workspaces. Fortunately, there are many potential solutions to the challenges companies experience in these workspaces.  

  • Privacy: A workspace needs both open and private spaces for people to work in privacy. Private spaces should be in proportion to the number of people who work there. 
  • Noise: Any time you bring together people in a large group and ask them to collaborate with one another, noise can become a problem. This can be resolved by installing acoustic ceilings and acoustic wall solutions that can absorb sound. It's also important to provide space-in-space conference rooms, of varying sizes, where staff members can come together in groups to work collaboratively.   
  • Issues around culture and communication: It's harder to retain company culture when some people are working at home, some people are working in the office, and everyone has staggered schedules. Setting expectations and providing employee training can help. It's also helpful to have office retreats, where staff members get to know one another and develop a consistent company culture. 

You may have questions about ways to manage sound and acoustic challenges in flexible office spaces. For more information about how you can create a functional open office space with controlled acoustics for your company, contact a sales representative with Rockfon about our acoustic and wall ceiling solutions. 

reference project, case study, 3d rendering, DGNB, office, Copenhagen, Denmark, cph highline, ventilated acoustic ceiling, work environment, health, skanska

Sources: 

  1. “How Can You Create Workspaces That Attract and Retain People?” n.d. Www.jll.co.uk. Accessed March 14, 2022.
    https://www.jll.co.uk/en/future-of-work/how-can-you-create-workspaces-that-attract-and-retain-people