Office spaces are changing almost as fast as new design trends are coming into play and with millennials set to take over the workplace by 2020, businesses are shaking up our working environments which were once stuffy, tedious spaces to spaces that push the boundaries, inspire and drive creativity. Here are some of this year’s trends in the workplace.
Work hard, play hard
A meeting in a ball-pit? Whatever next? With Gen Y entering the workplace and the likes of Google and AirBnb shaking up your traditional office culture, businesses are designing spaces that feed creativity and innovation. Boundaries are being pushed when it comes to workplace design in order to provide employees with a place where they can thrive on creativity. X+LIVING in China have created a shared work-space that encourages employees to “play”.
From a ball-pit for a meeting room to telephone-booth shaped resting rooms, X-LIVING have created a professional playground designed to boost energy, morale and, most importantly, productivity.
As more and more businesses start to report the success of a happy and comfortable working environment, we’ll see the corporate office rule book heading for the bin.
Bringing the outdoors in
With concern for the environment reaching an all time high, commercial office spaces are turner greener too, and we don’t just mean by reducing their carbon footprint or by recycling more; appearances are going green as well.
Biophilia: You’re probably wondering what it is. Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Or in other words, incorporating natural principles (materials, light and practices) into the workplace. Architects are redefining the way office spaces are designed and built by considering environmental features from the natural world, such as water, plants, natural sunlight, views and colour and materials including wood, stone and metal, to boost well-being.
Walls covered in plant life and shrubbery are becoming increasingly popular. Etsy’s head quarters in New York have created a Green Library wellness area along with a meditation and yoga room, multiple outdoor spaces including a rooftop garden and bike storage to advocate their cycle-to-work scheme and help reduce their carbon footprint. Google’s latest office in Silicon Valley has an aquarium for a rest room to encourage staff to sit back, relax and watch tropical marine life swim around tanks as they take a break from busy working life.
Amazon’s spherical greenhouse office is essentially an indoor treehouse. The 65,000-square-foot glass dome hosts plants from all around the world with more than 300 different species, many of them endangered.
“Amazonians will be able to break from their daily labors to walk amid the greenery along suspension bridges, and climb into meeting spaces resembling bird nests perched in mature trees.” [Bloomberg]
As the world continues to change with a move towards sustainable practice, innovations in design are starting to rise: from enforcing renewable energy using rainwater to water plants to composting food waste. Designers are beginning to challenge conventional notions of what’s possible in a commercial office, and why not? If it’s better for the environment and well-being, it’s better for us.
Bringing your furry friends into work has been a popular trend over the last few years. Not only does it help boost morale and motivation by creating a stimulating environment where employees are happy, it’s proven to reduce stress as well as contributing to overall performance.
The shrinking office
Due to smaller devices and technology that keeps us connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, many of us can work from anywhere and so there is less demand for big office desks piled high with paperwork. Designers are creating spaces that give employees the freedom to move around and find quieter pods for deeper thinking, larger open spaces for collaboration, recreational breakout areas to unwind from their working schedule providing spaces where people want to work. As a result, floor plans are getting smaller as mobile technology improves and hot desking and co-working increases.
I’m sure next year will bring many more pioneering changes to the workplace but for now, businesses are certainly starting to think more about their employees’ well-being and creating a space where they can thrive through some of the trends outlined above.