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The year 2016 is already well underway and there are some changes coming to the workplace as companies seek to break away from the old, tired formula of bright lights and square desks. As people spend more and more time at work, the lines between home and office are blurring, leading to a more organic, comforting feel.
Offices will carry on the existing trend of feature lighting, and they’ll also opt for more natural, softer lights as opposed to bleaching, harsh fluorescent strips. There’ll be more coloured LED lighting to enhance moods and calmness. These sorts of lights will feature prominently in breakout spaces and calm-rooms so that employees can really relax and recharge.
With the rise and rise of the open-plan office in recent decades, many companies use the closed-off executive offices as boardrooms. Lots of businesses have also changed the familiar sit-to-stand desk and made it a sit-to-stand, all-singing, all-dancing workstation. Start-up companies who can struggle to afford an expensive workspace in an expensive location such as London office space find this sort of innovation useful as it means office furniture that can grow with the company.
Standing meetings are gaining in popularity too. These meetings tend to be more efficient and wrap up quicker if everyone’s stood up. Standing keeps everyone on their toes (literally) and prevents a post-lunch zone out.
Bright colour accents and schemes were hugely popular in 2015 and there’s no sign of it stopping in 2016. Feature walls in dazzling colours, small rooms in calming hues, funky-looking furniture and accessories – they all help to increase productivity and happiness at work.
One of the main features of this growth is the merging of technology with the very furniture and fabric of the workplace – an example of IoT adoption. Office desks, boardroom tables and even lamps now feature USB ports, device charging points and plug sockets. This means employees can take themselves off to a corner of the building to think and still be connected.
Many offices are failing to meet green targets and they’ve been told to shape up. One way of achieving eco-goals is to use materials that are natural and from sustainable sources. It’s all part of a company’s corporate social responsibility. Any office undergoing a refurbishment or a rebuild should be looking at recycled materials, or at materials from fair trade and sustainable sources. In addition, many companies are using their outdoor space in a more productive manner – they may have a company garden, or a sheltered meeting spot, for example.
It certainly seems that workspaces are merging with homes and will continue to do so for the next few years at least. Workers often spend more time in the office than they do at home and sterile, strip-lighted white walls and clunky furniture can lead to a loss of morale and productivity. An uninspiring workplace can also cause problems with staff retention and loyalty, so it pays to follow the trends.
Cover photo by Peter Russel (source)
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