This, of course, is no different than many of the FM’s other main responsibilities.
Architecture firm RTKL Associates and AAA Business Supplies & Interiors have both weighed in on this question. Using their insights, I’ve made a list of the top design trends that are dominating this year, and will likely continue into the years beyond.
Rather than using only one space for collaboration, office designers are now turning to smaller spaces spread throughout the office. Why? Some companies have seen that having collaborative space in one concentrated area doesn’t do much for promoting teamwork. In 1987, for example, Scandinavian Airlines designed a ‘street’ surrounded by not only office spaces but also a café, stores and medical facilities. In the end, the street and café only hosted 9 percent of interactions, while the other spaces combined only saw 27 percent of interactions.
As more Baby Boomers retire, offices should update their design to support the young professional’s preferences. A study by Johnson Controls found that 27 percent of young workers are open to sharing desks with their co-workers. Seventy three percent said they would prefer to hold meetings in informal areas instead of actual meeting areas. In general, young workers are also attracted to a ‘bright, light and open working environment.’ Findings like these all weigh on future office design as young professionals begin to dominate the workforce.
Nowadays, color is the mark of a modern office. Just look at Twitter’s headquarters, where blue is a common theme throughout the building. According to productivity website Moredays, blue promotes productivity, and so does green. Red supposedly increases the heart rate and causes faster breathing, but some may find it too jarring to get work done. AAA Business Supplies & Interiors recommends using red only as an accent color. Though white seems like a safe choice, one study conducted by the University of Texas found that people are prone to make more errors in an office with white walls.
Exposure to natural elements has been proven to increase morale and productivity. To create a more out-doorsy space, consider purchasing plants like English Ivy, Boston Ferns and Red-Edged Dracaena, which improve air quality of the office. According to AAA Business Supplies & Interiors, elements that simulate the outdoors, such as ‘slate walls or floors’ or ‘blue that mimics the sky’, are two possibilities. Place furniture on an outdoor patio or roof area to encourage working in the fresh air. Of course, you can always add large windows for more natural light, too.
Two kinds of mobility are gaining importance in corporate design: mobility that lets workers drop in at the office as they please, and mobility that lets the worker move easily within the office itself (think furniture on wheels). For the former, hot-desking, hoteling and coworking solutions may be good matches that also drive down the company’s real estate costs. For the latter, consider adjustable desks, plenty of outlets and rolling chairs.
The above are just a sample of ideas for making over the office. Office design is a popular topic on the OfficeSpace blog, and we’ve covered most of the topics mentioned above in more depth.For more inspiration, be sure to check out our past articles on designing for Generation Y, natural light and biophilia in the office. With these tips, you’re bound to get inspiration for updating your office layout.