In the past, not a ton of critical thought was put into office design – it was simply a place to get work done, and that was that. No one was considering how colours, floor plans, ergonomics, and employee satisfaction played a role in to office efficiency.

In 2017, the role of office design could not be more prevalent. Sustaining an optimal balance between work and our personal lives has infiltrated the stream of consciousness felt within office settings, and the ways we work is always evolving. If you are planning on renovating or updating your office space for 2017, we’ve assembled some emerging trends that promise to help balance workplace innovation and effectiveness for the better:

 

Embrace the Cloud

Every day, more and more offices and business structures are ditching the old methodology of recording transactions and records via a hard copy, and are opting for a digital record instead. Embracing cloud-based technology in the office is relevant to office design because without having to store so many hard copies of files and records, you’ll inevitably free up some considerable space.

As paper-filing and old school storage increasingly becomes a thing of the past, digital storage allows your office to reinvent newfound open spaces to more creatively accommodate more beneficial workspaces, conference rooms, a larger staff room to help inspire some collaborative energy and corporate culture, etc.

 

Rethinking the Desk

Workers and staff members are becoming increasingly mobile and can work remotely for a number of positions – you can answer and respond to emails from anywhere. This means that large, stationary desks are being replaced by concepts like hot-desking, which provides sit-and-work spaces to employees on a first-come, first-serve basis. Because spaces are opened up, and deskspace becomes a more cultured commodity, hot-desking encourages employees to get to know one another because their neighbours inevitably change from day-to-day. This helps inter-office collaboration and strong company bonds to be formed.

Likened to a free-range approach to office design, having this constantly-evolving collaborative workspace means that creativity is boosted because, suddenly, staff members can be immersed in a new environment on a regular basis. This can be accomplished by investigating the idea of open-concept workspaces that help to eliminate walls and barriers within the room as well.

There’s also the potential to rethink the physical structure of a desk altogether. We now know that sitting for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to human health, so re-configuring and adjusting the way your office uses desks is becoming a huge design topic. Desks with adjustable heights, standing desks, treadmill workstations and wireless desks are all examples of reimagined office cultures that promote employee health and satisfaction as a core organizational focus.

 

Let the Outside In

2017 is seeing a plethora of office design concepts that whole-heartedly integrate as many natural elements as possible – from recycled and upcycled wood, to living walls, to edible green roofs and other biophilic design principles that are capable of increasing and demonstrating measurable benefits for employee efficiency in dynamics such as creativity, happiness, productivity, stress reduction and ability to learn. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Biophilia aims to recognize and pay homage to the intrinsic connection that human beings share with nature. Biophilic office design is unique in that it strengthens this instinctual bond within a space that humans are typically separated from nature. Biophilic office design includes architectural elements such as sky ceilings and other grand visual connections with nature, the presence of water through rhythmic and auditory nonvisual cues, as well as connection to natural timeframes and systems like daylight.

Simply put, the trend for 2017 is including greenery, access to views of nature, sky, water, and loads of daylight to flood our office spaces, thus connecting us with nature in as many ways as possible to not only increase the intrinsic beauty of our office spaces, but to increase workplace satisfaction and enjoyability at the same time.

 

Increase Flexibility

Ask yourself where you see your office heading in the next few years; what direction will your business take? Can you confidently predict the future of the company? Probably not. Then why would an organization invest their time and effort into creating spaces that lack the ability to adapt to changing conditions?

Increasing the flexibility of office space is increasingly becoming a focal point of emerging office design trends because of their ability to future-proof the space as a whole. The advent and inclusion of modular, ever-changing workspaces and meeting rooms can help your business or organization to transition in a new direction, or reduce its operational capacity on a whim without having to halt productivity.

Increasing the flexibility of your office space means the creation of hybrid office space – opening the space up to maximize sightlines for increased productivity and transparency, as well as building smaller collaborative spaces where teams can get together to flesh out an idea, or polish off the finishing touches of a big proposal. The key to increasing flexibility is being able to give an office team that specific space and amenities they need to do the job well, without having to stop and renovate or update numerous times.

 

Colour

Last but certainly not least is the ever-popular trend of using colour to your advantage. Offices can be drab places that lack creativity, inspiration, and life – leading employees down a bleak corridor of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction.

Colour theory works by helping the human brain to associate certain colours with certain feelings, emotions and perspectives, achieving prescribed traits, like boosted productivity, focus, feelings of happiness, tranquility or purpose.

Red, for example, is seen as an invigorating colour, even potentially increasing blood pressure and improving motor skills. It’s an ideal choice for offices and businesses that require fast-paced attention to detail. Blue meanwhile is a calming colour that can slow the heart rate and lessen the effects of a stressful working environment. Green is perfect for areas that should be relaxing, like lobbies and staff rooms. Purple is known as the ‘intellectual’ colour, perfect for meeting or conference rooms and boosting critical and theoretical thought processes.

These design trends for 2017 all point in one direction: care and attention is being paid to the workforce of the modern day. Whether it’s improving levels of happiness and productivity through the presence of natural materials and views or boosting critical thought through invigorating and calming colour theory, offices and their managerial teams are seeking to open up their transparency and better collaborate with their employees. At Fuhrmann Construction, we’re all for helping achieve these goals.