As we enter the year 2024, there will be significant changes in office design. The highly anticipated “Great Return to Work” is altering our understanding and creation of workspaces. This article explores the shifting landscape and important trends that will shape office interiors in the upcoming year.
By now, we’ve all heard of the term “modern office” when talking about companies opening their doors and welcoming back employees. Business owners and commercial interior designers have been working hand-in-hand to identify modern office fit out ideas that would best benefit professional office spaces and the people it accommodates.
There’s no question that face-to-face human interaction establishes trust, strong bonds, and teamwork between colleagues. During the pandemic, we’ve had to rely on communication platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to connect with each other. But this also made us yearn for in person spontaneous social connections around the office which improved our work experience and company culture.
However, we have to acknowledge that the old office we were used to may not and should not be the same space we will be returning to.
After months or even years of working remotely, employees have realised that there are many benefits to doing their daily tasks from the comfort of their own homes. The main reason they want to return to the office is to reconnect with old colleagues, socialise with friends, and seamlessly collaborate with team members on the things that are better done without the harmful blue light from digital devices. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to implement modern office fit out ideas that support the ever-changing needs of the workforce.
In the past couple of years, business owners conducted studies and looked into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to modern office design. This allows companies to help employees transition more effectively when returning to the office. This change will undoubtedly be challenging, especially since the need for adaptation will continuously shift. So, we’ve listed the top modern office fit out ideas and the professional benefits of each.
Modern Office Fit Out Trends for 2022
Active and Ergonomic Furniture
Research shows that sitting and standing for long periods of time can be harmful to our health and wellbeing. That’s why having a working environment with modern active and ergonomic office furniture that provides support and promotes liveliness while working is vital.
Offices can greatly benefit from the use of such furniture in a number of ways. It’s likely that professionals with desk jobs may sustain mild injuries and/or health concerns – for example, developing workplace-related MSDs or Musculoskeletal Disorders. These include:
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle Strain
- Sprains and Tears
These MSDs can have a negative impact on work performance. Consistent and prolonged effects can result in decreased productivity and absenteeism, to name a couple. Therefore, preventing MSDs can benefit not just the employee but also employers. Providing staff with various ergonomic work-surface and sitting options is an excellent example of applying modern office design. It’s a testament that it’s not just about aesthetics, but about medically-supported ways to improve employee wellness.
Integrated Smart Technology
The seamless incorporation of technology into the nooks and crannies of the modern office space is both necessary and convenient. Smartboards that could replace standard white boards and announcement displays, wireless chargers for mobile devices, hotdesk and meeting room booking systems are a few things that can help make workplace life easier and safer.
With flexible workspace options, more companies are embracing the benefits of technology in modern office fit outs..
It’s a known fact that COVID-19 and other bacteria and viruses spread fastest among frequently touched surfaces. Companies that invest in technology which removes the need for human contact can greatly reduce the risk of transmission.
Touchless systems that can yield ideal safety and environmental standards are as follows:
- Motion sensors for wash areas, and toilets.
- Lights activated by motion detectors.
- Automatic doors via smartphones, keycards, motion sensors, or facial recognition.
- Contactless temperature checking devices.
- Elevators and audio visual systems that can be controlled using digital devices.
Improved Air Filtration
Offices must step up their air filtration systems to minimise any airborne diseases circulating in the space. It’s important to maintain a workplace that circulates clean air and controls temperature that keeps harmful bacteria at bay.
Work Tents and Desk Pods
Plastic plexiglass, while effective and necessary to an extent, does not exactly scream modern solution. For a more contemporary approach, pods or tents that employees can use for individual work or even collaboration are effective, safe and, let’s admit it, cool alternatives for working while ensuring safe distancing.
For professionals who work 9-5 office jobs, it’s not an understatement to say that we practically live in concrete jungles, with our eyes constantly glued to digital devices, sitting in cubicles lit by artificial lighting. Essentially, modern life has strained our connection with the natural world.
As the modern workplace has evolved, a number of organisations have started accepting the principles of biophilic design and its benefits such as employees’ reduced stress levels, higher productivity, and better company culture.
Biophilic design aims to incorporate nature into our lives by adding natural elements into office design. Here are a few examples of biophilic design modern offices can adapt:
- Using natural materials for finishes such as wood and stone
- Water features like fountains, ponds, or indoor waterfalls
- Adding real plants around the space
- Maximising earth-tone colours that are cool and easy on the eyes
- Textures and pictures that elicit the feeling of nature
Recreation Rooms and Lounge Spaces
Boring break rooms are a thing of the past. Enterprises must now embrace areas where co-workers can enjoy foosball, table tennis and the like, and relax on big, comfortable couches. Even airy, outdoor spaces where colleagues can hang out and talk, have coffee, and perhaps collaborate are also something to be embraced.
Ultimately, having a homey, cosy, and welcoming work environment is best for employees. This is also a great way to impress clients and attract potential talent.
Times have changed and the way we work is constantly shifting, so businesses must also adapt their strategies and workspaces to provide employees with a better eco-system, ensuring overall wellness and higher productivity. We hope that these modern office fit out ideas provide food for thought when you are embarking on a new office design, or refitting your office to welcome workers back.
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