Office design experts reveal key trends for 2016

The dynamic and ever-shifting nature of the modern world is presenting organisations with new and evolving challenges that they must address with all of the tools attheir disposal.

At the heart of this complexity is the physical workspace. Its design touches on every aspect of the changing nature of employment and the workplace.

Area Sq, office design, refurbishment & fit-out specialists, have identified seven key trends in workplace design and management that businesses should take advantage of in 2016.

Organic, biophilic and biomimetic design
Businesses have begun waking up to the idea that the relationship between people and nature is worth exploring. Simple offerings, such as natural light and fresh air, can have a dramatic affect on employee wellbeing. Access to such necessities will not only improve morale, but also concentration. Any office interior that reflects an element of nature in its design can expect to yield instant results.

Agile working, co-working and the gig economy
‘Work’ is no longer a fixed place. Work is everywhere. Organisations are no longer bound by the restrictions of traditional hours and a cellular office setting; and nor are employees. Along with this new approach to work, a ‘gig economy’ is emerging. The idea of a 9-5 working day has been replaced by a culture thatembraces an individual’s need to work whenever, wherever and however to get the job done. This is driving the boom in co-working spaces where employees canconsume rather than occupy an office for a set period of time.

Wellness and wellbeing
The health and safety of employees has always – and will always remain of paramount importance. However, the idea of ‘wellness and wellbeing’ is now taking over; it’s not as simple as ensuring the workforce is safe. Office design can have a profound impact on employee health, happiness and productivity and organisations that seek to help staff improve their physical and psychological wellbeing will reap the associated benefits.

Inclusive design
For the first time in history, many organisations now have four generations of people working in the office. It’s imperative that the workplace reflects and meets the needs of people at different stages of their life. In addition to thinking about general access, organisations must design a space that suits a wide range of occupants, regardless of their physical abilities.

Convergent design
A few years ago, the word ‘office’ would probably conjure a particular image – perhaps a cellular grey space, filled with fluorescent lighting and row upon row of cold and clinical desks. These days, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a coffee shop and a workspace. The lines between our various worlds – family, work, and social – are blurring. The design of a workspace should reflect the fact that modern employees are used to working in all sorts of environments.

Beyond ticking the green building box
More organisations now consider a wide range of factors when assessing environmental performance – it’s not just about meeting the minimum requirements anymore. Companies are beginning to look at the supply chain, the wellbeing and environmental strategies of suppliers – and, despite the complexity of embracing Standards and Accreditation, organisations that utilise these effective tools when itcomes to meeting the specific objectives of a building’s design and management can expect to save money and reduce their carbon footprint as they do so.

Zonal design
By creating different types of space within an office and empowering people to make decisions about how to use them, organisations are able to meet the needs of groups of people who work at different times and in different ways depending on their job function, age, personality, working relationships and personality.

The office isn’t just a place to work; it is also a driver of competitive advantage. By embracing these current and future trends, business leaders will be able tomeet the varying demands of the millennial workforce.