We take a look at some of the technology and design trends for offices this year.
The design and layout of offices has become much more flexible in recent years. And with this flexibility comes the chance to redesign offices more frequently and introduce new technology easier.
Here we look at some of the big design trends in offices for 2017.
Technology is no longer just a simple add on. Yes, you’ll still find devices that can be placed on desks or fastened to walls – but much of modern technology comes already integrated in office furniture.
The big advance is in mobile charging technology, with some desks now including areas where you can simply place your phone and have it charged speedily. This removes the need for more cables in your office.
Desks, walls and space dividers will also soon come with built in video displays, charging options for a variety of devices (not just a plug socket) and other interactive features like mouse pads.
While it’s not yet caught on the way people thought it might, virtual reality has had some decent take up in the business sector. Whether that’s as a design tool allowing you to ‘hold’ virtual versions of new products in your hand or for tours of buildings often used by everyone from architects to estate agents.
With this has come the need for a safe space to use this all-encompassing technology. Having people walk blindly around offices is a nightmare for health and safety so some offices have come up with their own VR spaces.
Other ways VR is changing office design is with the introduction of VR apps that transform your computer from a single screened device to multiple screen display using a VR headset.
There has been a realisation recently that empowered and happy employees are productive ones. And while some firms have managed this by consulting with employees about big decisions or boosting the sort of benefits and perks they offer, others are using the workplace to lure and retain the best talent.
This has led to office design that comes from the employees’ point of view, not the company’s. This means interior design that reflects the views of the office, spaces created specifically for them to work in, and the introduction of features like snack bars, gyms and break out spaces.
The wellness standards emerging in 2017 aren’t specifically aimed at employee wellness – though that tends to be a side effect – but rather are aimed at the building’s wellness. It was launched as a solution to Sick Building Syndrome in which the design of building and the materials used were making employees less productive and, in some cases, actually sick.
By removing toxic paints, boosting the lighting and air con systems, and introducing more greenery, offices become a place that people wanted to work. The design principles looked at both the physical and psychological impact of design on workers.
Death of the copy room
Finally, it’s about time to shut the door on the copy room one last time. With the rise in cloud computing, tablet usage becoming common, and the push for greener, paper-free offices, we’re a lot less reliant on things like filling cabinets and photocopiers.
While they won’t be totally consigned to the dump, the need for a whole room dedicated to paper is becoming very dated. These rooms can now be used for something more productivity, like naps rooms and table tennis tables.