Even before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020, workplace culture was changing in the UK. The expectations of employees have been shifting for some time, and this has resulted in the emergence of a range of new office design trends. More and more business owners are choosing to embrace their staffs’ needs and desires, shifting their office design to reflect this in 2021.
Safe office design
Covid-19 has shined a light on safety in the workplace, creating a new focus on mitigating the transmission of disease. Whilst offices are likely to remain open-plan in general, the design of these workspaces is likely to change, with the angles and orientation of furnishings adapting to make the spread of viruses less likely. The pandemic is also likely to reshape office furniture too. Office furniture suppliers are already noticing a demand for larger desks which allow people to sit further away from each other. Office desks have become smaller over the years, however, we’re starting to see a reversal of that trend.
Sustainable office design
Businesses are becoming progressively aware of their impact on the environment, a concept known as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). They’re increasingly concentrating on how they can reduce their carbon footprint and help build a more sustainable future. As such, sustainable office design has moved into focus, with many companies taking steps to be more eco-friendly. There are almost endless ways for them to do this, from using energy-efficient lightbulbs and using proper insulation to minimise the need for artificial heating sources to using non-toxic furniture materials. One of the easiest ways to create a sustainable office is to choose furniture constructed from FSC-certified wood.
Community-focussed office design
During the pandemic, many people were forced to work from home. Whilst some people have enjoyed this, many want to be back in the office. The biggest reason for this? They miss connecting with colleagues and feeling a shared sense of purpose. So, we’re likely to see a robust shift towards office design which fosters community in 2021. Community is the lifeblood of any successful organisation, correlating strongly with business outcomes, including engagement, productivity, and innovation. Community-focussed office design might include implementing flexible workspaces where employees aren’t tied to one desk, and delegating more spaces for collaboration and relaxation, such as breakout areas.
Smart office design
As workplace technology advances, offices are increasingly becoming smart offices. The trend for remote working during the Covid-19 has strengthened our reliance on digital working methods, with even the less tech-savvy businesses being forced to adapt in order to operate effectively. These new and unexpected challenges faced by companies have them to look towards new and creative methods of problem-solving in 2021. Adopting smart office design in a workplace enables people to work better and faster using the latest technology. Beacons, sensors, and various mobile apps help staff to perform tasks more effectively.
These are just a few of the ways you’ll need to shift your office design in 2021. Workplace cultural continues to change drastically, with the ongoing global pandemic only serving to hasten this process.