Commercial Office Design Trends for 2020January 18, 2020
Over the last 20 years I’ve seen a host of trends pop up in the office environment. One of the first trends was move toward open office environments and less private offices. Other trends came, went, and returned back to the forefront. Some of these trends are employees working remotely, satellite offices, low cubes, high cubes, fuse ball and ping pong tables, and the list goes on. Now that we are firmly planted in 2020, I thought it might be interesting to let you know what trends the designers are seeing for 2020. To bring you this info, I referenced three articles plus sprinkled in some of my own observations to bring you the Commercial Office Design Trends for 2020.
It’s not surprising to see that many of the trends are focused on Millennials because they make up the largest group of employees out in the workforce today. According to an article titled, “This is the Hottest Trend in Office Design Right Now,” the Millenials have set a trend for “mobile-first nomadism” and are responsible for the “death of the desk.” According to Lisa Walker, VP of brand and corporate marketing at Fuze, she says that “Millennials want to be able to move about throughout the day into different environments. This led to the rise of ‘resimercial’ office design pioneered by WeWork, but is now sweeping the HQs of major corporations.” So, due to the Millennials, we are seeing work spaces designed with communal tables, quiet pods, brainstorm islands, formal and informal meeting rooms which replace dedicated desks.
Before you go an sell your office desk and create a coffee shop like environment, Mike Coons, associate director of workplace strategy at Knotel, warns against “cool and trendy” office spaces and encourages users to design spaces that make a meaningful impact on employee productivity. Mr. Coons adds, “research continues to show that employees feel most productive when they have control over their own work environment. No one size fits all mold can adequately be calibrated to the range of jobs and employee preferences out there. Adjustability and variety go a long way toward keeping employees happy and productive.” An office space that would be adjustable would give employees the ability to control the temperature, it would use standing desks (adjustable height desks), multiple work spaces, a nice kitchen area where employees can gather, and good connectivity throughout the space. In addition, your office space needs to give employees spaces to communicate but also give them spaces that are quiet and allow them to concentrate.
After reading a few articles and seeing what is happening in offices spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am providing the following list of trends for 2020.
- Smart Offices. A smart office is more than an office space that has WiFi in it. A smart office enables the use of technology to connect and engage employees with their work environment. Beacons, sensors, mobile apps are all tools that help employees to be more efficient. One of my clients, Buildings IOT, Inc. can show you the different options that you may have as they specialize in tying all the systems in a workplace together so you end up with a smart office.
- Dynamic Spaces. A dynamic space is one that is flexible. These include spaces that have indoor-outdoor spaces, movable dividers, functional furniture, ergonomic furniture, modern AV equipment, and flexible seating to name a few. Multi-purpose spaces have become the new normal in offices.
- Community Spaces. When I think of community spaces, I think of a coffee shop setting. Multiple places to sit, some people carrying on a conversation, others wearing ear buds, hard floors, maybe a beer tap, music in the back ground, and the smell of coffee. These are the gathering spaces that can create a draw to come to the office instead of staying home and working remotely. Community spaces are where ideas and collaboration happen and where the company’s vision and culture are seen.
- Sustainability / Biophilic. The term sustainability may be an easy one to understand but biophilic is likely a new word for most. Think of this category as a description of your space as it relates to the environment. Millennials like to see environmentally sustainable spaces that re-use materials, have more wood, less metal, use natural light instead of light from fixtures, etc.. Biophilic is a space that has plants and living green walls within the space. Plants provide color, have been shown to have a positive psychological effect and they introduce oxygen to the space.
- Monochromatic. As it relates to color, we are seeing spaces that only use one color but they use the entire spectrum of shades, tones, and hints of that of that color to promote or convey a theme that is unique to the company. This is great for branding as it can emphasize a your company’s brand.
- Modern Modular. This is modular furniture at its best. Modular furniture can be a free standing office or conference room, a phone booth, or just a flexible desk that can be combined, moved, or adjusted to fit the needs of the individual. I would recommend talking to SamClar in Concord, CA to explore your options with modular furniture.
- Domesticated Work Spaces. A domesticated work space will have a “homey” feel. Domesticated work spaces include furnished kitchens, sofas, throw pillows, area rugs, soft lighting, etc. These spaces are becoming popular and are showing up in more and more offices in the Bay Area.
A lot of these trends are seen in the large tech and progressive companies all across the country. That doesn’t mean that all of these or part of these trends need to apply to you and your company. If you are in a smaller company, it isn’t usually feasible to create a Community space and have a Dynamic space in your 3,000 sf office space. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up creating an environment that doesn’t allow the employees to think and create and it can force you to take more space than you actually need. Take these trends with a grain of salt and see if you can incorporate a few into your space. If you do, you are likely to see several benefits. Some benefits could be that your space can be used to help you in attracting new talent, provide a more productive work environment, aid in retention, or offer a more productive place for creativity. Even something as small as giving employees control of how their office furniture is set up can give your team what they need to produce more and bring in more business.
I hope you find this information helpful. Some of the articles that I referenced are in the links below. Please comment and let us know which trend is most exciting to you and your company.