4 Office Furniture Trends in 2021

4 Office Furniture Trends in 2021

Author: Dr. Christina Counts

Each year, new office furniture trends arise, and while the past year has been far from ordinary, 2021 will debut unique furniture trends. This year, office design and furniture trends will be centered around health and safety, as well as easing employees back into working in the office on a regular basis again.

More than ever, employee wellbeing will be key to promoting office productivity. Employees will be looking for comfort and peace of mind when they come to the office––especially those who have been working from home since last March. There will also be a renewed interest in collaborating in-person, as remote working has hindered the ability to efficiently collaborate. Office furniture trends will reflect these new and changing needs.

With this in mind, here are four office furniture trends in 2021:

  1. Comfortable and Lounging Furniture

After as much as a year of working remotely from home, employees have likely become accustomed to having the comforts of their living space available as they work throughout the day. For some, this means spending the couple of hours after lunch working from the couch or lounging in the backyard for a change of scenery toward the end of the workday.

To accommodate this new desire for a variable environment fueled by the intersection of comfort and productivity, offices will need to utilize comfortable furniture pieces that allow employees to lounge, work at a standing desk, and everything in between.

  1. Acoustic Furniture and Mobile Dividers

For many, working remotely meant a significant change in their work environment––some suddenly had their entire home to themselves to work peacefully, while others were plunged into the chaos of managing their children’s virtual learning throughout the entire workday. These extremes have created a critical need to promote peaceful and productive energy in office spaces, which includes utilizing furniture elements in the environment to reduce noise, block out major distractions, and enhance focus as employees transition back to the office.

Acoustic furniture such as modular sound-dampening walls can help reduce ambient noise, while mobile dividers can offer just the right amount of separation from office chaos to focus on individual tasks––all without inhibiting collaboration.

  1. Personal Storage Units

Between maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols as long as necessary and minimizing office clutter and distractions, personal storage lockers, cubbies, or other individual storage units will be a practical and functional addition to any office in 2021.

Employees will find comfort in their ability to safely store away their personal items in an enclosed unit where it will be less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus and other germs. Plus, keeping items confined in their storage areas when they are not being used will make it easier for maintenance and janitorial staff to keep the office clean and disinfected.

Additionally, after working from home––often surrounded by distractions and personal clutter––keeping items stowed away when they’re not being used will be a breath of fresh air for many employees, offering a clean and clutter-free space to work. Everyone in the office will benefit from a clear, minimal work area, with fewer visual––and mental––distractions.

  1. Flexible Spaces

While open and flexible workspaces have been a popular office design approach for several years, 2021 will bring a need for convertible office spaces that can adapt to changing needs, and office furniture trends will reflect this. Many office spaces will find the need to provide areas that can accommodate videoconferencing abilities, as it is expected that some employees will stay partially remote, even when the office is fully open again. This may require the addition of furniture with built-in videoconferencing tools or reorganizing the layout of collaborative spaces to enable videoconferencing abilities for large groups.

Employees will also have a greater desire for variety in their workspaces, after remote working has caused many of them to become accustomed to moving around different spaces in their homes throughout the day in response to different workflow and comfort needs. Offering a variety of different furniture options, such as standing desks, traditional desks with ergonomic chairs, and lounging chairs or sofas––and choosing pieces that can easily be shifted to create new environments––will help employees get used to working in an office again.

With the effects of COVID-19 and the new habits created by remote working in mind, new office furniture trends will arise in 2021 and beyond. As employees ease back into working in the office, the right furniture and intentional design will be key to maintaining productivity and comfort for all employees reporting in-person.

Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Strategy and Development for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces to modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space.  She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!