Working from home more consistently, it’s natural to become concerned about the environment we work in and whether or not it detracts from our usual standard of productivity and efficiency.
And while there are some consistent recommendations around optimal desk space and storage for office clutter to help with focus levels, just as important as the decor of an office is the positioning and design of key working areas.
What are the types of office layout and why are they important?
Office layouts are designed to get the best out of employees and are usually designed with their methods of working, and as well as their physical wellbeing, in mind.
This is why you’ll see, featured across different office spaces around the UK, layouts that include things like breakout areas for impromptu meetings, standing desk spaces to decrease repetitive posture injuries and softly furnished areas for calmer, solo-working.
Even though these elements of an office layout apply to traditional workplaces, intentionally recreating these settings at home can allow you to benefit from the same sense of wellness and productivity as you would in the workplace.
Here, we look at layouts inspired by the latest trends in office design and offer tips on how they can be implemented in your current workspace to ensure you’re set up for positive and productive working days.
What are the new trends in office layout?
Office layout trends in 2020 reflect the principles we’ve seen emerge in the millennial workforce, and generation in general, such as increased flexibility of location and working style, as well as conscious consumerism in the workplace. These are:
- Cosy hubs
- Dynamic workspaces
- Sustainable designs
- Green spaces
Here we look at how these are easily adapted to home office environments and how they can improve yours.
1. Cosy hubs
Offices are more conscious now than ever before about mental health and the importance of offering “chilled out” workspaces — ensuring that workers have a cosy hub to retreat to when tensions run high. Something as simple as designating a comfy seat and a few cushions with dimmed lighting in one area of your office (or around the home) can help you feel calmer and more prepared to tackle the rest of the day.
2. Dynamic workspaces
Dynamic workspaces can be great for quickfire and casual meetings alike and, importantly, allow a change of scenery throughout the day. In the office, this is likely to be a series of coworking booths, communal desks or kitchen seating areas.
At home, during designated working hours, your own kitchen can become an extension of your office. Where there’s a chair and table, there can be an alternative workspace. Where there’s a bartop, there can be a standing desk. Add cushions to make a space more comfortable and somewhere you can go and enjoy a cup of coffee or catch-up phone call, as you might at work.
In 2019 we saw the start of the sustainability revolution and in 2020, many offices are continuing that theme with sustainable interior design. Sustainable furniture designs now feature alongside purpose-built ergonomic office seating, desk space and storage.
By using upcycled furniture, even having old chairs reupholstered with your favourite fabrics to add a bit of your own personality, you can add the same element of uniqueness and variety we’re now seeing in contemporary workspaces to your office.
3. Sustainable design
Another upcoming trend in traditional workspaces is green spaces, namely areas of the office that include copious plant life, including “living walls”. This trend goes far beyond the traditional office palm with plants of all varieties, even moss and herbs, growing vertically to produce a feature wall of foliage.
Green spaces are not only visually appealing but also come with some amazing benefits, which you can capitalise on at home, too.
With so many plants in one space, you’ll notice improved air quality and more soundproofing from connected rooms — perfect for those with a stuffy or noisy home environment to contend with. More impressively, living walls also have sustainability benefits, not only cooling offices down in the summer, they act as insulation in the winter too.
How can I improve my office design?
When adapting the structure of your own home office, it can be tempting to tackle the layout as you would any other room in the home. But when designing a workspace, it’s not just about ensuring good lighting or feng shui. You should think about setting out purposeful areas and features of your office space which actively contribute to wellbeing and productivity — and complement the ways you work specifically — which will ultimately determine how effective the overall environment is for your working day.