5 Office Design Trends for a Post-Pandemic World
- April 2, 2021
- Anthony Bowie
Author: Dr. Christina Counts
COVID-19 has changed everything about our lives, from the way we shop, to the way we interact with people, to the way we work. In particular, COVID-19 has ushered in the remote working trend, with some analysts predicting that 25 to 30 percent of the workforce will be working remotely by the end of 2021 (“Work-at-Home After Covid-19—Our Forecast – Global Workplace Analytics”, 2021). For those who continue to commute to the office, many will request flexibility to work remotely on occasion, and––when working in the office––will utilize workspace options that mimic the comfort and peacefulness that they love when working from home.
As the office becomes a different space that will have to accommodate changing needs and varying employee attendance, new office design trends will emerge to meet these requirements. The decisions office designers make in choosing both furniture and layouts will have a significant impact on how these spaces can be utilized for the new needs of a post-COVID workplace.
Going forward, it’s expected that there will always be someone––or a whole team––who is working remotely and needs to attend meetings virtually. However, with some members of the team meeting in-person at the office, it’s not practical for everyone to log into a videoconference on their personal device. To solve this dilemma, technology will be integrated into office space design, such as interactive whiteboards, large screens for videoconferencing, and furniture with integrated cameras and mics.
Many employees will be given the opportunity to extend remote working after the pandemic, but for those who have missed their dedicated workspace in the office, returning to work is long-awaited. Offices may consider implementing hybrid office schedules, where employees are only required to physically work in the office on certain days or a certain number of times a week. This type of schedule allows for the creation of more specialized and comfortable spaces that can meet the shifting needs of different groups of employees working throughout the week.
After months of working remotely from home, employees have become accustomed to a certain level of comfort while they work. Having spaces that mimic these cozy work-from-home setups can keep employees motivated and happy while they work. Implementing other home comforts in the office such as full-service kitchens, outdoor seating areas, and even the opportunity to bring pets to work can all be great ways to engage employees in the office and increase their wellbeing.
With all of these changes, employees are hoping that workspaces remain simple, avoiding anything too trendy or over-the-top. Keeping with minimalist design ensures that spaces are both visually pleasing and functional. These areas create space for mental clarity and have fewer distractions. Plus, decreased clutter in minimal spaces makes it easier to create multi-functional designs.
Each employee has different work preferences, and it’s important to provide workspaces that can meet these varying requirements. An intelligent design perspective is to create a multifunctional office full of different types of workspaces designed for diverse employee and team needs. Creating spaces where furniture pieces can be modified or moved also makes it possible to change the office as space requirements shift.
The risks of COVID will stay at the forefront of office space design for a while, but employee productivity and workflow will once again become a top consideration in creating workspaces. As employees begin to once again visit the office regularly, these office design trends will emerge to meet the new needs of a post-pandemic workplace
Work-at-Home After Covid-19—Our Forecast – Global Workplace Analytics. (2021). Retrieved 2 March 2021, from https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast
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!