How have modern office design trends evolved post-pandemic?

The aftermath of the pandemic accelerated changes in modern office designs, compelling companies to adapt quickly to support new ways of working and a different workforce.

The rise in hybrid workplaces, a fiercely competitive recruitment market, rapidly evolving technology and an increased focus on wellbeing all continue to influence new trends in office design. Guiding design choices is the emphasis on providing a workplace experience – an environment where colleagues can flourish among a community of like-minded people – rather than simply a place to work.

Four years on, we take a look at how the workplace has changed, exploring current office interior design trends and how they’re set to evolve further.

office space design trends

Choice and flexibility

Working from home during the pandemic allowed people to work more flexibly in settings of their choice, and this flexibility is increasingly being mirrored in modern workplaces. Companies recognise that by offering a range of agile settings, employees can chose how or where depending on the task at hand, increasing their comfort and wellbeing, and in turn, boosting productivity.

What’s more, our research revealed that almost a third (32%) of UK office workers would be more inclined to work from the office if there was more choice of workplace settings. So for companies looking to encourage their team back into the workplace, agility is key.

In practice: a greater adoption of a agile settings, including traditional desk space, drop-in zones, collaboration and brainstorming spaces, coffee-shop style welcome areas, sound-proofed quiet pods, formal and informal meeting rooms, social areas and games rooms, dedicated wellness and meditation spaces, and prayer rooms.

commercial office design trends

Collaboration

Employees’ have changed their reasons for coming into the office. Most have proven they can work effectively and productively at home, and now many see the workspace primarily as a place to connect with colleagues, collaborate, socialise and feel part of a team.

Many of the latest office design trends are shaped around enabling and encouraging collaboration to maximise face-to-face time for team members.

In practice: dedicated team zones or ‘neighbourhoods’, open collaboration areas with casual and relaxed seating, meeting rooms with plug and play and smart AV technology to connect with remote workers, creative brainstorming spaces equipped with media walls, and breakout rooms and social/games areas.

Sustainability

As education and awareness around the need for more sustainable practices grow, many organisations are striving to create more environmentally friendly workspaces, reducing the carbon footprint of the office to reflect their company’s commitment to sustainability.

Many organisations choose to work towards recognised accreditations and certifications such as WELL Building Standard and BREEAM in recognition of their efforts.

In practice: incorporating biophilic design features including natural elements like planting, FSC certified wood and stone, the use of energy efficient lighting and HVAC, designing out waste, responsibly procuring materials, diverting waste from landfill during the fit-out process and using local suppliers reduce carbon impact.

office design trends

Wellbeing

Our research shows that mental and physical health and wellbeing in the workplace are important to 93% of employees, and while just 8% of respondents rated their workplace as ‘excellent’ in this regard, our experience tells us many businesses are now prioritising office design for wellbeing.

In practice: use of intelligent lighting solutions to mimic natural daylight and improve focus and mood, as well as comfortable and ergonomic furniture, agile work settings, relaxation rooms, and access to amenities like meditation studios, gyms, fitness centres and cycle storage to encourage physical activity.

Inclusivity and diversity

Current office trends are seeing a greater focus on ensuring the accessibility and inclusivity of workspaces to create environments suitable for employees regardless of their needs, preferences, or abilities.

In practice: use of ergonomic furniture to accommodate a range of body types, carefully considering use of colour, gender neutral toilets, prayer rooms, baby and parent facilities, and breakout or relaxation rooms to help prevent stress and sensory overload.

What office workplace design trends are set to gain popularity throughout 2024 and beyond?

UPSIZING

Research shows that 2023 was the year of the ‘Great Office Return’, with 40% of companies returning to a five-day office working week. This, alongside employees realising the value of face-to-face interaction and collaboration with colleagues, could see companies needing to accommodate more employees in the office at one time.

FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE SPACES

Workplaces looking to accommodate more office-based employees may need to rethink space to become more flexible, with settings to facilitate and encourage collaboration remaining key. By designing a flexible office space, companies can easily adapt their workplace to cater for changing business needs, or scale-up or down to facilitate different teams.

This could include settings which double up as drop-in desk space and collaboration areas, or the use of moveable partitions to create varying sized rooms/areas as demand requires. In terms of office furniture trends, the use of meeting pods and comfortable furniture will remain popular to create zones in open plan environments without the need for internal walls and partitions, as will the use of clever modular seating solutions which allow spaces to be adapted quickly for different uses.

THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

Technology integration will remain vital in supporting the seamless communication between remote and office-based workers. High-speed internet throughout the office is necessary for effective collaboration, and meeting spaces now need to be equipped with advanced digital conferencing facilities and interactive smartboards.

Facilitating effective space management also involves implementing digital booking systems for both meeting rooms and desk spaces. Companies are also increasingly using AV and VR technology to facilitate training and site visits, providing a more immersive experience.

HOTELIFICATION

We love the office interior design trend of ‘hotelification,’ and it continues to prove popular. Hotelification in workplace design essentially involves designing office spaces that incorporate hospitality-inspired features to create more comfortable and welcoming environments, enhancing employee experience, satisfaction and overall wellbeing.

As well as creating reception areas akin to hotel lobbies, this also includes using lots of plush, colourful, unique furniture and fittings to provide a high quality, welcoming environment that promotes comfort. It also involves incorporating amenities and services that you may typically find in a hotel, for example barista-style lounges and bar areas, spaces to socialise or to host more casual meetings, gyms, cafes and recreational spaces.

Final Thoughts

The variety and diversity of modern offices represents the wide-ranging and ever-evolving workplace, and the changing needs of employees over recent years.

As well as future office trends, effective workplace design should also consider how to future-proof your space, taking into account growth projections, changing employee needs, and rapidly advancing technology developments. To develop an effective workplace design strategy that works for your business now and into the future, consulting workplace design experts can be beneficial.

Get in touch to find out how ADT Workplace can help redesign your office space or follow us on our socials to stay up to date with our latest projects and favourite design trends.

ADT Workplace

The Workplace, Zebra Court, Greenside Way, Manchester M24 1UN

Opening hours: 9am-5:30pm

letstalk@adtworkplace.com 

Call: 0161 655 0290

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