As we approach the end of the year, we have looked back at which trends have been at the forefront of office design this year. Many trends have emerged post-pandemic as the workplace has adapted and evolved to bring people together again.
It’s been a year since Glasgow hosted COP26, and many companies have committed to being net zero within the next few decades (including Mobius). We have seen a considerable increase in the number of sustainable products available, and clients are making more environmentally conscious choices.
An increasing number of clients are also enquiring about second-hand furniture or up-cycling furniture that they already have. It is an excellent way of reducing waste and saving money within the project. It’s lovely to see so many suppliers offering more sustainable choices. Some of our favourite office design trends from this year are:
A beautiful fabric made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester, including 50% Seaqual Yarn. Sequal Yarn contains marine plastic from the Seaqual Initiative.
A customisable shelving and storage system crafted using eco-friendly materials, including recycled ocean plastic, recycled PET Felt, and pressed bamboo. Bamboo uses less energy and waste in manufacturing while providing a beautiful finish to these shelves.
A range of natural, ecological, and health-conscious paints. They come in a beautiful array of colours. Their interior paint supports airflow, eliminates condensation, has high coverage, and is washable, meaning less product and fewer re-paints are required. They are also free of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). For a more in-depth look into the product range, read our blog, ‘Sustainable Workplace Solutions.’
Technology and Connectivity
The adoption by many companies of hybrid working means that workplaces have had to adapt to enable colleagues to meet, no matter where they work. Many office spaces have requested dedicated video conferencing rooms and investing in better AV equipment and installation.
This year, we worked with an AV company to create a VR suite and AV showroom in Bristol, showcasing the best in video conferencing technology and virtual meeting spaces. They have seen a massive increase in demand for this kind of equipment. Their advice for any office refurbishment is “even if you can’t afford the latest AV equipment straight away, wire in for the equipment you want down the line. It is quite inexpensive and the equipment can be purchased and installed later. Trying to wire for AV equipment retrospectively is difficult, messy, and usually more expensive.” We couldn’t agree more, this is valuable advice, and we would always encourage clients to think about this at the start of a project.
Love or hate the term; you can now find the ‘resimercial’ concept in offices worldwide. The word means mixing residential design elements into a commercial space. Companies have been moving away from the traditional office design and instead creating destination offices to entice people back to the office. Think comfortable, cosy, relaxed, and homely. A great example is the Elements Material Offices in London, designed by Thirdway. The colours, soft seating, and styled shelves make this workspace feel like a home away from home. We think this trend will be around for a while.
Health & Wellbeing
The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey, and the results found that 45% of people felt working from home was better for their health and well-being. Having more time to exercise, getting away from the desk at lunchtime, and being able to prepare healthier lunches were some of the reasons for this. Companies have taken on the feedback and are starting to prioritise the health and well-being of their employees. More offices are allowing for exercise space. Such as a fully equipped gym, a yoga studio, or a quiet zone where people can switch off.
Smaller offices can still facilitate a healthier lifestyle for their employees by providing showers and allowing people to run, walk or cycle to work. Some companies offer larger social spaces and even on-site restaurants to encourage socialising across teams and departments. We recently wrote an opinion piece on BT offices in Birmingham, which includes a restaurant, terrace, and dedicated events space as part of BT’s ambition to bring its colleagues together. Read the full blog post here.
Many businesses across the UK are facing higher costs, particularly regarding energy, so it’s no surprise that more companies are investing in technology that can save them money and increase productivity. A “smart office” is a high-tech workplace that uses analytics and integrated technology to control mechanical & electrical equipment and utilise technology to control movement, access, and even food ordering.
We have spoken to numerous clients who are interested in this approach to office design. It can be even more powerful when a BIM model is used and linked to a CAFM system (Computer Aided Facilities Management). Accessing this information means that the occupier of the building knows exactly which products are in use and when they are due for maintenance, saving vast amounts of time undertaking investigative work before maintenance starts. An excellent example of an “intelligent office” is the new Deloitte office in London; we have a blog post about this office, so you can read in more detail the kind of technology they’ve incorporated; read it here.
These office design trends will continue into next year. However sustainability and cost-saving are moving to the top of the priority list. With economic uncertainty, rising energy costs, and the company’s promises to move towards net zero, we expect to see more demand for environmentally conscious solutions. The good news is that we expect to see even more sustainable products.