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Whether they’re working individually, in meetings, collaborating, having lunch, or grabbing another cup of coffee, most employees spend quite a bit of time at the office. In recent years, much thought has been put into understanding how to foster better productivity in the workplace, and office design can have a positive or negative impact on this.

Office design can and should vary from business to business, but there’s no denying that certain trends have arisen due to their tangible benefits. When it’s time to update your office’s design, work with your employees to establish pain points and other issues a design refresh can eliminate.

Here are a few office design trends that are gaining traction in 2018:

Open Office Concept

The definition of an open office has shifted over the years, but in 2018, benching systems are now the most common office furniture solution found in open offices. These systems feature large or long tables with small dividers (or perhaps no dividers) separating workers.

An open office design with benching systems can be incredibly valuable for businesses that rely on collaboration and creative thinking. The openness of the office makes it easy for all workers to be seen or heard when needed. An open office design also tends to feature lower furnishing costs, and they are much easier to rearrange when necessary.

However, an open office concept isn’t for every business. These offices can also be noisier and less private, making it more difficult to work individually. For more information here, read our blog post: How Do I Know if My Business is Right for the “Open Office Concept”?

Bringing Outdoor Elements Inside

Numerous studies have shown that a stale office space can negatively impact creativity, productivity, and mood. One of the best ways to combat this is to incorporate natural elements into your office design. The easiest way to do this is to introduce plants and other foliage when updating your office space. Plants are versatile, with larger ones being used as dividers or boundaries and smaller ones as accents or desk pieces.

Wood, stone, and even a fountain or other water feature can also help a great deal. These natural elements can be added to your existing layout fairly easily, and they can also be paired with a mural or portrait of the outdoors. The resulting office should not look like a greenhouse, but subtle hints at nature can go a long way toward raising spirits in the workplace.

Dedicated Breakout/Lounge Spaces

Most workplaces already have locations to eat lunch or grab a cup of coffee, but dedicated lounge spaces are becoming much more common in office design. Although a kitchen or dining area can serve this function, having an entirely separate area for this purpose can be very beneficial. This trend has seen businesses utilize both traditional and modern lounge seating options like bean bags and other comfy furniture great for reading, meditation, and even power naps.

The idea behind these lounge spaces is that staff who are mentally drained will not be as productive or creative as they can be. Taking the time to step away from work for a short while and recharge might be just what employees need to tackle the next project with a full head of steam.

Multi-Purpose Workspaces

Multi-purpose workspaces go hand-in-hand with the open office concept. This trend refers to the creation of multiple zones within one room, which is a big reason for its increasing popularity. A single room could contain benching systems, training tables, a projector for presentations or meetings, and a lounge area. Multi-purpose workspaces are a great solution for businesses looking to better utilize a limited amount of space.

Employees can smoothly move from zone to zone or even adapt the room to fit the specific task at hand, fostering more creativity and potentially better productivity. The openness of the multi-purpose workspace also makes it easier for employees to choose the zones they are most comfortable in, yet still collaborate with others.

Office design trends are always evolving as businesses attempt to improve productivity and creativity. At the moment, offices are focusing on creating open, natural environments and ensuring employees are focused and comfortable enough to produce their best work. At Office Furniture Warehouse in Pittsburgh, we love helping businesses optimize the space they have and design an office that fits their unique needs. Our design and space planning service comes at no additional cost to our customers, and we’d love to help your organization with its next design project. Contact us for more information!