As younger generations enter the workforce, and older generations continue the trend of retiring later, office workplaces continue to host wide-ranging age groups. Throughout 2018, the office interior design industry explored ways to provide for employees as a whole, regardless of generation. The popularity of the agile office layout can in part be attributed to workplaces needing to accommodate those accustomed to a more traditional fit-out, and simultaneously those who are ready for change.
New technologies are helping office administration teams manage their employees as a whole, rather than solely via individual oversight. Cloud computing and improvements in company-wide communication continue to push office toward a much more holistic view of their workforce. Because of this, we have seen employers take on a greater understanding of and appreciation for spaces designed for collaboration.
The development of office workstation design over the past twelve months have led us to the point where many mainstream, industry-leading corporate offices are completely re-thinking office seating and layout. Employers that are pursuing increased efficiency have found that a flexible seating plan allows their staff to move between combinations of spaces based on the task at hand – these include open, private, collaboration and breakout workspaces.
It’s possible as this trend continues that we can expect assigned desks to be removed completely, requiring total restructuring of how we approach personal storage systems, etc.
As data collection tools evolve, interior designers also found over the last year that the future is bright for smart interior design. By observing movement patterns, designers have found that many difficult design problems may be able to be circumvented by intelligent application of cutting-edge tech. For example, it can be difficult to project the exact interactions between spaces in practice – breakthroughs in AI could help alert interior design teams that a desk may be too close to a meeting room, and that sound contamination could be a concern.
Even though AI is nowhere near advanced enough to possess the creativity to do design work of its own, AI tools that make suggestions have started to appear, and will continue to be a driving force into the future of design has a whole.
Mental health was a major thread in design throughout 2018. Physical ergonomic design continues to advance, and incorporates a deeper understanding of how an employee’s well-being is affected by the space they work in. Architects and designers are likely to continue to attempt to advocate movement in their work, and this can involve everything from the integration of sit-stand desks, to the layout of staircases in an office.
From trends throughout this year, we can deduce that design geared toward mental health will continue to grow in popularity too. A resource published by UK organization, Mind, outlined that 60% of staff would feel encouraged to work harder, and be more likely to recommend their workplace to others, if design steps were taken to boost mental health.