Workspace Design Trends to consider In 2020

Don and Charles have many things in common; friends since childhood, partners in crime during middle school, played the same sport and even liked the same girl in teenage. They went on to take the same degree in university, move to the same city and support the same EPL team. In case you are wondering, it is not a team that wears red, but we shall not dwell on that. To be fair, though, here is one little clue: this team has won a notable victory recently… Now back to the matter at hand. Don and Charles are loyalists, having loved this winning football team since their youth. It is in adulthood, however, that their similarities end. A successful entrepreneur, Don has a knack for picking the right people and strategies for his FMCG organisation. His company has been named Most Promising during the city’s Start Up of the Year Awards. He went on to take the Most Innovative award two years later and more recently, were named as finalists for the Fortune 100. The secret to his success lies in two things: his employees’ happiness and comfort.

While this seems far-fetched, it is surprising what a change in office design can do to increase productivity in the workplace. A widely cited study by Alan Hedge confirms that office workers whose space is comfortable are happier and more productive. Whether you are looking to be named among the Best Companies to Work For, or simply want to remodel your work space, you will find the following trends worth considering:

Sit-stand work stations

A sit-stand station provides a worker with dual options: a sitting desk on one side where all the reading and computer work takes place and a stand area on the other, for all the tasks that can be undertaken on your feet. According to Hedge, 80 percent of workers interviewed preferred sit-stand areas to the traditional office arrangement.
This kind of station would have several advantages: individuals with a sit-stand work station report fewer musculoskeletal problems. Likewise, there is reduced risk of health issues associated with sedentary jobs, including heart disease and obesity as the standing helps to shed off calories. This means fewer sick leaves and more work done. Sit-stand areas offer flexibility and allow staff to continue with their tasks without necessarily taking a break from their designated space. Consider an adjustable bench as this makes it easy to work at any standing height, definitely a plus for any office.

Bench desking

A bench station pools workers together hence making efficient use of space, as opposed to the traditional large, heavy desks that were the norm in past decades. This sitting is advantageous in that it eases engagement among teams and reduces feedback time to zero. Managers also have the option of sitting amongst members making their oversight function easier, while increasing group cohesion between the leader and his team. The basic rectangular design allows desks to be arranged in rows, which in turn makes it an appropriate option for companies whose teams are expanding. Aside from making the most out of available space, benched work stations give workers ample leg room and optimise the sitting area. To get started, look through several available bench desk designs here.

Green space

Work-related stress levels have been on a rise in the past decade. As workers are faced with more challenges and pressures of life, CEOs and managers have the added responsibility of ensuring the office space helps alleviate stress. Adding a plant to the office space might look like a small thing, but the difference it brings cannot be underscored. Plants not only help to clean up the air, they sharpen your focus, have a calming effect while serving as décor too, especially when placed atop cute furniture such as the Vari Storage cabinet or a Stak & Store wall unit. Choice of plant should consider plant scents, maintenance required and office space. For starters, you want something that will neither stir up allergies nor attract a hoard of pollinators! You don’t want a plant that will hog up space just as you don’t want one that’s the equivalent of having a baby – demanding! The Chinese Evergreen makes wonderful, low-maintenance office plants as do the Boston Fern and Parlor Palm. When designing an office space this season, go green. Stress levels among your team will likely come down a notch in the process too.

Break out areas

Designing a break out area within the office environment provides workers with a comfortable, informal and quiet place to have their meals, socialise, hold an impromptu meeting or perform light tasks away from their desks. Not only does a collaborative work space offer rejuvenation, they can serve as brainstorming areas and inspiration hubs. This can also double as a reception area, where visitors can catch their breath and read the newspaper as they wait to be served. Additionally, ideas flow better when people are relaxed, much like the most interesting and informative conversations seem to take place during dinner as the family converges around the table. Break out areas allow the same kind of setting. To constitute one, try soft seating products such as sofas and cushioned benches. For instance, a few Chesterfield style sofas arranged in a circle will instantly transform your office kitchen into a breakout area. Likewise, fitting a corner of the open plan office with arm chairs will tone down the formal feel of the office and allow workers to have a more relaxed and cozy environment. The results are increased productivity and boosted staff morale.

Lighten up

Light gives an illusion of space and makes office space appear more inviting. Huge windows will solve the problem of a drab looking space by bringing in natural light. This also makes the office airier and lifts the mood. During winter, artificial lighting will not only keep the office brighter, it creates a warm, cozy ambience. To cater for the creative and outgoing personalities, adorning the space with a chandelier or two gives it a chic look.

Bring down the walls

Whereas melancholies would be alarmed at the thought of no walls (they seriously value private space), the Sanguine is looking forward to the open plan office where he has his favorite people around him- that’s everyone.  Phlegmatic team members are likely okay with whichever arrangement, being the non-fussiest bunch that walks the planet, while cholerics are busy focused on getting The Corner Office. The office space should resonate with the workers who spend their time and energy therein.

That said, the melancholy has a point. With the increased interaction that open plan offices provide, comes constant disruption, higher noise levels, reduced privacy and risk of confidentiality breaches. No one, not even happy-go-lucky, extroverted sanguines would like that. Thankfully, the open plan office has an antidote:

Meeting Pods

Having Meeting Pods eliminates the noise and heightens privacy, allowing teams the space to engage without the high walls. An important point to note in noise reduction for the open plan office is to steer clear of hard surfaces such as concrete and glass walls, which reflect sound as opposed to absorbing it. Hence, Meeting Pods with soft furnishings work best, so a carpet here and rug there will give the space a warmth and depth it wouldn’t have. Additionally, fill up the walls with art. Wall pieces bring life to the office space, inspire creativity and help absorb any unwanted noise. Meeting Pods come with the added feature of portability, meaning you can quickly set them up or dismantle them when it is time to move.

Implementing these ideas have been proved to increase staff productivity and morale, in addition to making the office space a place they look forward to. You don’t have to do all of them at once, but we recommend you take the first step into designing a comfortable and functional office space. Once successfully in, pick another idea and run with it. You will not be sorry. It’s the least you can do for your workforce and a step towards being One of The Best 100 Companies To Work For.

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