RIP workplace cubicles! Workplace design trends are evolving to better engage how people work. One thing’s for sure: decades of cubicle domination are coming to an end.1 This change is happening at a surprisingly fast rate. Top talent simply refuses to be constrained by congested cubicles.
Employers that understand this will dominate in the competition to attract talent in a shrinking labor force. The fight for top talent has generated a rapid transformation in workplace design. Knowing how modern office design stimulates collaboration and engages employees is key.
Workplace design trends are focused on the changes needed by a younger, more technological work force. The promise of modern workplace design: improved employee engagement and retention.
Competing for top talent is one thing. Retaining them using modern office design is the goal. Here’s a look at the Top 5 Workplace Design Trends for boosting employee engagement.
Workplace Design Trend No. 1: Flexible, Future-focused Design
Traditional office spaces are designed for a fixed use. This model no longer works for today’s business challenges. Modular, adaptable workspaces offer a solution. Flexibility for today and tomorrow is today’s leading workplace design trend. Flexible-use spaces make it easy to adapt to changing employee, project and company needs. It’s an ideal solution for a rapidly changing world, where many essential positions didn’t exist five years ago and companies are hard-pressed to predict the job functions they’ll need in future years.2
Flexible space and adaptable furniture make it easy to integrate new technology. This increases the longevity of workspace investments. Modularity is also an ideal fit for the social, team-based work styles of Millennials and Gen Z workers. For example, movable furnishings that fit together in many ways enable a more dynamic, interactive setting. It’s a workplace design trend with no end in sight.
Workplace Design Trend No. 2: Blended, Activity-based Design
Up-and-coming generations thrive in social, collaborative environments. Nonetheless, there’s still a need for privacy and focus. Open floor plans with a variety of functional spaces can provide an ideal solution. This idea of mixed-use space is the basis for workplace design trend number two. Blended offices offer a mix of private, semi-private and open workspaces. This makes to most of the benefits of each type of space.3
Also called activity-based design, blended paces are also typically modular and adaptable as well. Blended offices divide and define spaces for work styles and tasks. Most modern workplaces include one or more common areas, meeting rooms, unenclosed breakout areas, and casual seating groups.
The most common types of zone spaces include:
Workplace Design Trend No. 3: Designing for Well-being
One suggested fix is to design spaces to promote movement throughout the day.13 Ideal features include sit-stand desks and strategic placement of end points. Sit-stand desks promote overall health and can reduce back, neck and shoulder pain. They’ve also been shown to cut stress and boost productivity. Placing stairs, lounges and restrooms away from work spaces encourages movement.14 It’s the same idea as the parking your car at the far side of the lot.
Biophilic design is a subset of the well-being trend. It brings natural materials, light, greenery and views into building design. 15 The popular plant wall is an example. Don’t be fooled. This is more than an aesthetic trend. The use of biophilic design can improve productivity and creativity.16 It’s a workplace design trend with the potential to make a major mark on business success.
Workplace Design Trend No. 4: Employee Appeal
Workplace Design Trend No. 5: Integrating Technology
Companies are also seeking easier content sharing solutions. A chief concern is device-agnostic sharing, for hassle-free meeting collaboration. By integrating tech into the environment, employees can get down to business quickly.
Wasting time in meetings is a chief concern in workplace design. Especially, the time wasted setting up for a meeting. Proper integration ushers in the business benefits of videoconferencing.
Getting setup without the need to fiddle with equipment is key. Furniture, workstations, lounges and huddle rooms must be created with connectivity and set up in mind. Common tech integration elements include19,20:
- Built-in power and data
- Integrated wireless charging
- Interactive displays
- Easy-connect technology touch points
- Table-top touchscreens
- Articulated monitor arms
- Wireless streaming dongles