Our commercial interior experts like to keep a close eye on the newest developments and trends in the industry. While we are used to working in a rapidly changing environment, workplace design has gone through one of the largest industry shake-ups we have ever seen.
Last year, for example, work was wherever your laptop was plugged in, due to COVID and other office design changes. Commercial office design trends in 2021 are not only geared toward protecting employees, but they are also an attempt to make the workspace into a place that feels like home.
1. Go with the Flow
Not only will business owners need to have flexible policies that allow employees to work remotely, but they will also need to have a flexible office layout with moveable furniture. That way, when they work at the office, they can make various configurations easily and efficiently. Space planning has never been more important.
Workplaces need office furniture that can serve individual workspaces and allow for collaborative work as well, while adhering to social distancing rules. In 2021, designers are considering employees’ safety and their need to feel connected to their co-workers.
2. There’s No Place Like Home
Resimercial design, the concept of combining residential and commercial elements, has become one of the hottest new trends in office interior design. Employees have become accustomed to the comforts of home, so commercial designers are focusing on the following to include some home office design trends in 2021:
- Biophilia: Bringing the outside into the office, with potted plants and plant walls that can double as social distancing barriers.
- Natural Light: Swapping sun blocking walls for glass partitions and if you have the time and extra cash, splurging on skylights.
- Ergonomic Furniture: Comfort goes hand in hand with well-being. Invest in ergonomic chairs and sit/stand desks to promote good physical health.
- Additional Features include: Natural fibers, durable upholstery, mix of textures/silhouettes, wool rugs and large curtains.
3. Zoom to a Room
Videoconferencing is the new norm. With more companies offering the option to work from home, designers will be focusing on incorporating small, designated rooms for virtual meetings. This is the new popular trend in office design. Things such as acoustics and “invisible” cabling will need to be considered for these social distancing office layouts. If your office doesn’t have an extra room, modular wall systems will come in handy.
4. Sustainability is Real
To strengthen your brand image and obtain new employees, you must do the right things regarding sustainability. Some of the country’s most promising individuals are choosing jobs based on the company’s approach to sustainability. Going green doesn’t have to be as dramatic as installing solar panels and using windmills for power. Simply having eco-friendly office supplies on hand will make a big difference.
- Make sure your breakroom has environmentally friendly products on hand, like filtered water coolers.
- Choose an office supply company that has an ink cartridge recycling program.
- Choose a local vendor that can provide a contactless delivery, rather than a big-box company who will emit more greenhouse gases.
5. Safety First
Aside from providing your staff with a multitude of antibacterial wipes and implementing more rigorous cleaning plans for your janitorial crew, new technology is also coming to the rescue. Hand-free sanitizing dispensers are hands down one of the hottest commodities in a post-COVID office. Other notable advances include:
- Lights that work on sensors
- Keyless entry pads
- Appliances controlled by apps
6. Divide and Conquer
Bring employees together but keep them apart. That’s the motto nowadays, and it’s a tough one to understand, let alone implement. Regardless of whether you have a large open layout, or a smaller space, partitions and protective screens are a straightforward way to enforce social distancing.
Some businesses are opting for glass while others are choosing fabric to make it seem cozier. Again, some companies are choosing a more biophilic design, in the form of plant walls.
7. Signs, Signs…Everywhere Are Signs
The social distancing markers that are currently used in supermarkets will be displayed around the offices. Cleaning and hand sanitizing stations will have signs pointing employees in the right direction.
8. Goodbye Hot Desk, Hello (Again) My Space
Keeping hygiene in mind, the era of hot-desk swapping may have come to an end. Employers are going back to allowing their staff to have their own individual workspaces, bringing back that homey feel and making easy for them to love their office spaces. You will see more pictures of people’s kids and cats alongside their box of antibacterial wipes.
9. Adaptability: Work is Where Your Laptop Is
Not to be confused with flexibility, adaptability is defined as a willingness to change ideas or preconceptions. Before COVID, most companies believed employees were more productive at the office. Post-COVID office design and employees have proven that work can be done just as effectively at home.
Some companies will look to downsize and move to a smaller location, while others will redesign their current space to encourage employees to come back to the office. The interior design team at CMF has got you covered, whatever you decide.