The office sweatshops of the 60s, 70s and 80s are a thing of the past. Today, information and communication technologies have caused designers to rethink office design so that flexibility and mobility on the workplace floor are taken into consideration. Here’s a brief run-down of some key trends in office design in 2015.
Modern technology has sped up corporate processes but has also created more complex problems which sometimes require direct, immediate discussion. So many office designers have started to create office spaces which make it easier to have on-the-spot, face-to-face communication. Office cubicles and cells are becoming increasingly outdated as open-plan layouts become the favoured approach by many large companies. In addition, designers have started to include central ‘zones’ for communication between employees. It’s where brainstorming sessions as well as traditional business meetings are supposed to take place.
In many new and trendy offices, workstations are height-adjustable. This is becoming increasingly prevalent in sales departments, where standing height is often preferred and allows for better, more direct communication without hindering movement. In addition, stand-up discussions are thought to have a more positive impact on communication and have been found to encourage more targeted conversations.
The old stuffy office environments have been abandoned by most companies, particularly in the IT sector. Google and Microsoft have embraced the notion that their employees’ senses need to be stimulated in order to encourage the flow of innovative, imaginative ideas. The result is the inclusion of lounge areas and working cafes which are intended to stimulate ideas in an environment somewhat detached from the traditional office space.
Natural Light and Window Blinds
This is an area which has become hugely important in the design of workplaces. One just has to see how many glass structures dominate London’s skyline to have an idea of how important it’s become. The glass is not just for aesthetic purposes but is also there to improve the well-being of workers by encouraging the flow of natural light. As a consequence, window blinds have become one of the most popular forms of window covering in the corporate world. They offer flexibility both in use and design and are becoming more technologically advanced, due to the use of smart technology.
Energy costs are a major concern in contemporary society which is why smart technology is becoming increasingly popular. New products such as thermal shades (see previous post) are able to substantially lower energy costs by allowing users to adjust lighting according to their needs. Thermal shades also provide security because they can be lowered remotely and set on a timer. Other areas of advancement include video conferencing which directly influences office design by removing the need for conference rooms. In today’s commercial environment many conferences are conducted by video links which can take place anywhere where there’s a workstation.
These are just some of the design trends which are starting to influence how offices layouts are conceived and constructed. And considering that we’re still in the midst of a technological revolution, it’s safe to say that exciting times await us in the realms of corporate office design.