In recent years, office design trends have shifted to reflect the values of those in the workforce, as well as the goals of business owners and industry leaders. The traditional workspace has been pushed out in favor of office designs that make efficient use of space, promote productivity, emphasize greener practices, and make employees happy.

In 2020, the marriage of sustainability, flexibility, and technology will be on full display as design trends that have emerged in years past continue to evolve.


Concern for our planet has grown tremendously over the last decade, and this concern is beginning to make its mark in the area of office design. New techniques and materials are being used to construct “green” buildings and offices to promote safe, healthy, and sustainable environments. This trend isn’t exclusive to new buildings; however, as many existing locations have been redesigned to reflect these values.

Here are some of the ways sustainability will increasingly impact office design in 2020:

  • Materials: Efforts have been made to develop artificial materials that are safer for the environment than existing materials. These materials, like “green” concrete, are low energy, low maintenance, very durable, and at least partially made from recycled materials.
  • Energy: Buildings account for 40 percent of energy production around the globe, so any cuts to consumption could significantly reduce carbon emissions. More and more businesses will begin using natural lighting – like skylights or sloped ceilings – as much as possible.
  • Water: The best course of action here is to use less water and reuse as much as you can. Luckily, there are a ton of options to choose from, like reduced flow toilets, automatic sensors, and high-efficiency fixtures.
  • Design Elements: Interior design elements using sustainable materials are being implemented into more and more workplaces. Renewable, durable materials like wood, linoleum, bamboo, and cork are commonly seen in decorative pieces as well as some office furniture products. Even some structural components like countertops have been created using a combination of recycled materials.

Multifunctional Spaces

Single-purpose rooms will always have a role in office design, but the popularity of multifunctional spaces has exploded in recent years due to their flexibility and tie in with activity-based working. These areas allow for a single space that can adapt to the needs of meetings, brainstorming sessions, trainings, or interviews.

These areas dispose of traditional office cubicles in favor of the open office concept. Desks and tables are on wheels alongside moveable seating options that can be rearranged easily depending on the task at hand. With this type of functionality, multifunctional spaces encourage communication and create an environment that fosters the flow of ideas, collaboration, and information. And with many businesses now letting employees work from home full-time or part-time, multifunctional spaces will be adopted by more businesses in 2020 as they provide the flexibility needed to deal with a rotating in-office staff.

Biophilic Office Design

The average person spends very little time outdoors each day, and it’s been suggested that the lack of interaction with nature can be detrimental to employee productivity and overall psyche. As a result, large businesses have redesigned their campuses and corporate offices to give their employees a “greener view” at work each day. In 2020, this trend should continue to move its way into small and medium size office spaces via biophilic office design.

This design trend focuses on giving the workplace a more natural feel to boost worker productivity and creativity. For small and medium sized businesses, using natural lighting, wooden textures, and indoor plants are easy ways to give an office an “outdoorsy” feel that livens up the workplace.

Technology Integration

Technology has caused a shift across nearly every industry, and reliance on our devices at both a business and personal level is now impacting the features going into new office furniture. Desks, conference tables, and even lounge seating are being built with outlets, charging ports, Bluetooth speakers, and other technologies to accommodate the needs of the modern worker.

With office furniture now blending with technology, it’s no surprise that the planning process for a workspace heavily accounts for a company’s use of technology as well. For example, the arrangement of a conference area for businesses with remote workers now needs to center around the technology used to bring them into a meeting. Speakers, monitors, and more now impact which office furniture is selected and how those pieces are set up to give everyone the best experience possible. In 2020, technology is going to push office design in new directions as workspaces continue to become more connected.

Your Office in 2020

As the leading office furniture dealer in Pittsburgh, we offer businesses complimentary office design to make the most of your space. If you’re tackling a new project in 2020, our team is here to help you create a workspace that is optimized for both your employees as well as your budget. Contact us to get started!