As the world of work changes, so does the office design landscape, with the last decade showing noticeably freer, more creative, more human interiors take to the fore.

Rumours of the Facebook and Google offices really came into play as we inched into the 2010’s, with many companies taking lead from the tech giants with funky, fun and so-called rule-breaking office design. 

So what could the next decade possibly hold – as we continue to shift towards more flexible working, and as the end of the traditional 9-5 feels ever more imminent? And what about the other pressing issues that weigh heavily on the minds of business owners and employees alike, such as sustainability, equality and inclusion? 

Here, we take a look at some of the likely trends set to emerge over the course of the next decade… read on to see if you agree. 

1. Sustainability: natural materials and efficient tech

As environmental issues continue to take centre stage around the globe, office design is already being scrutinised heavily under the sustainability spotlight. While many companies have been pushing the sustainable agenda for years, others have a long way to go if they want to keep up.

Judging by millennials’ evident concern about the environment, this decade is likely to see the sustainable office trend really come into its own, with eco-friendly offices becoming much more mainstream as well as a key desirable for potential employees. Expect to see the greater use of greener building materials such as stone and natural wood, as well as innovative solutions focused on maximising natural lighting, and lots of energy efficient tech.

2. Diversity: accessibility and inclusive design

Diversity and inclusivity are, rightly, high on the agenda for most employers today, with recent years seeing important developments in these areas, such as gender pay gap reporting in 2018. While progress has undoubtedly been made, many – if not most – companies could still do more when it comes to making the workplace not only accessible to those with disabilities, but a place where they can thrive equally alongside their colleagues.

Over the next decade we will hopefully see a big push towards commercial design that is inclusive of all people, whatever their physical or mental needs may be. This could include an almost infinite range of features, starting from wheelchair friendly offices that are spacious throughout, through to the implementation of sensory-aware work zones for those who may be sensitive to light, noise and temperature. 

3. Health & wellbeing: dedicated work-free spaces

These days it’s not unusual to hear of a company offering lunchtime meditation, yoga and free healthy snacks as employee benefits – all intended to promote greater health and wellbeing at work. As enlightenment around achieving a better work/life balance continues, the next decade looks set to see this trend grow even further.

Expect to see a rise in dedicated office chill out zones, concentration rooms, dynamic social spaces and even extracurricular rooms such as libraries and study areas. What’s more, expect to see such spaces come into fruition using innovative, aesthetically on-point design principles. 

4. Dynamic flexibility: lightweight furniture & inventive use of space

With more people working remotely than ever before, traditional companies have their work cut out for them if they want to compete with the lure of freelance life. As many businesses are learning, one way of doing this is to ensure that office space on offer is both impressive and dynamic, while company working culture is liberal and never stifling.

In light of this, the next decade looks set to see office design take the meaning of “flexible” to a whole new level. This could include the use of more innovative, lightweight furniture that can be easily swapped out or moved, floor plans that encourage hot-desking, and clever use of space that provides workers with the kind of privacy and scene-swapping that is available at home. 

Whether you’re business is housed in a traditional private office or you’re looking to venture into coworking spaces for the first time, it’s crucial to stay educated when it comes to office interior design. Not only is it thought that poorly thought-out working environments can stifle creativity and productivity, it’s a fact that top talent craves top-class facilities. When you bear all that in mind, making sure you’re armed with current – or better, ahead of the curve – office design ideas might just be more important than you might think.

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