5 Trends Shaping Office Space Design in 2022
With more companies shifting to remote work over the past two years than ever before, both employees and employers are re-thinking what they want and need from an office. As a result, several common trends have emerged that are shaping the future of office space design.
2022 Office Design Trends
The Lakeside Park, along with interior designers, architects and commercial building owners and managers in and around Boston, are taking note of these 5 trends and how they are affecting office design across nearly all industries.
Remote Work is Here to Stay, but So is the Office
While focused work can be done from home, activities that require collaboration or an exchange of ideas, as well as new business initiatives, are still best handled in an office environment.
Office design is changing to accommodate this social, collaborative side of work, while also becoming more technologically advanced. Conference tables are being swapped out for conversation-style seating with furniture that features USB ports and electrical outlets for charging devices. Companies are also adding TV screens with Wi-Fi or cloud capabilities for connecting with clients and work-from-home colleagues, as well as acoustical panels to help with noise.
Gone are the Days of the Open-Office Floor Plan
Collaboration is great, but employees who are required, or choose to work from the office for most of the week, still need a space for head-down, private work.
The solution is a return to taller workstation dividers. Unlike the fabric covered cubicle walls of old, companies are opting for panels that can easily be disinfected and cleaned with bleach-based solutions, and topping them with glass panels to still allow in light. Many companies are also adding a handful of private offices that can be signed out or used on a first-come, first served basis for private phone calls, conversations, or quiet, independent work.
The Office as a Destination
Many employees have gotten so comfortable with working from home, they actually need a reason to come to an office. Companies, and office buildings, are realizing that, to coax existing staff back and attract new talent, they need to offer amenities.
From on-site gyms, childcare and doggie daycare facilities to golf simulators, outdoor patios, basketball courts and tree houses, companies are shifting their office designs to focus more on overall employee well-being. A demand for ergonomic furniture, equal access to window views and more natural elements are also shaping office design.
There’s No Place Like Home
If employees are going to leave their homes to go to an office, it needs to offer something that home doesn’t, but it also needs to pull in some of the things that we’ve grown to enjoy about working remote.
In some cases, rows of desks are being replaced with commercial-grade couches and comfy seating, plush carpets and tablet tables. Instead of traditional break rooms or cafeterias, companies are building cafes that serve healthy snacks and Starbuck-like lattes, and including bar seating with outlets for those who’ve discovered they actually enjoy working in a coffee shop setting.
Future-Proofing the Office is a Priority
Companies want an office that won’t be obsolete in a year or two, which is why flexibility is key. Leasing office space, either long-term or short-term, is more popular now than owning, but so is flexible office design.
For instance, movable partitions and curtains offer privacy, but are more flexibility than walls, and desks that can be pushed together for collaboration, or separated for independent work, offer much needed versatility. Offices will need to be technically flexible, as well. The flow of employees in the office is expected to be ever-changing, so, rather than assigned desks, employees will need to be able to work from anywhere in the office without any technical hiccups.
The Future of Office Space Design
For companies to inspire employees to return to the office, it’s going to take more than applying a fresh coat of paint and adding hand sanitizer stations. The pandemic has changed how we work, and, in turn, where we work.
The future of office space design is still evolving. However, companies have already started looking for new office layouts as their leases come up for renewal, and some are seeking smaller spaces as more employees work remotely.