• Hannah Smith

New Office Design Trends

An office’s design and layout can say just as much about a company as its website or its logo. An open layout suggests they value teamwork and collaboration, the presence of entertainment like ping pong tables or other games suggests they value fun just as much as work. Open-concept offices have been seen as less stuffy or old school when compared to its previous cubicled counterpart.

Though, looking into the next year, it’s possible that COVID-19 may change the way offices are designed. Open-concept offices might start to be divided into specific areas in the interest of health and safety, and some companies are considering a hybrid approach to in-office employees, so no one has to report to the office every day.

It’s also possible that more offices will start to look for outdoor space, where employees can safely social distance in the open air, be it for individual work or for team meetings. Having outdoor space can also be a mood-booster for employees, as it’s said that a change of scenery and some sunshine can help reduce stress and anxiety.

With the concept of a hybrid workforce floating around, some businesses are considering making their office space more dynamic overall- whether this be movable dividers, bookable offices, easily movable desks, or more office locations for employees to choose from. Some might even continue the trend of singular booths in offices for calls or for solitary work, where you can be isolated from others, should you so choose.

In the coming months it might be that more offices will incorporate tech through the entire workspace, rather than just in meeting rooms. With a chunk of the workforce preferring to work from home (be it for reasons related to cost, productivity, or commute) there will be a need for remote servers for employees to access, better monitors/televisions or even better internet overall to ensure calls don’t get dropped and that everyone can be seen and heard during meetings. They might even invest in productivity software, or workplace chat systems such as Asana and the ever-popular Slack messenger system.

With all these COVID-friendly changes in place, it’s certainly possible that the days of the modern, sleek, open-concept office will be behind us; to be followed by a high-tech but highly segmented office, with enough personal space for each employee who chooses to be in the office to remain safely socially distant. It might not bring back the second rise of the cubicle, but things will either be a lot more spaced out, or a lot more sectioned off- which provides the possibility of actually increasing productivity when compared to open-concept offices.