Offices continue to adapt to better places to spend a third of our days as they move from functional to much more people friendly.
Below are top five workplace trends we can expect to see in South African offices for 2018:
1.Dynamic workplaces layouts
Millennials entering employment are reshaping the work space as we know it. Multi-functional community space is an office trend that has been around for some time now, however this is an increasingly favoured workspace layout which accommodates constantly changing needs, allowing people to have greater fluidity, mobility and flexibility in the workspace. This trend can be seen in the form of modular, light weight furniture, work benches and sit-stand desks. More businesses, particularly those with greater creative functions, are forming inspiring, unconventional work zones such as yoga or mediation rooms, lounges to host important meetings.
Communal areas are becoming an imperative part of the workplace where people can get together for an informal meeting, to simply enjoy a cup of coffee alone or to collaborate across teams.
2. A new level of comfort in the workplace
Office fit outs are increasingly about creating a ‘home away from home’ type of feel. This is done by providing cosy, welcoming lounges, communal canteens, and comfy break out areas. This makes for a better working environment; helping to make employees feel more comfortable and valued. Furniture used in mostly in residential settings is now becoming a greater preference in the office space, ultimately creating that warm, eclectic, never-want-to-leave-the-office feeling.
We will see this trend grow further in popularity in 2018, as millennials who are pushing this trend are resisting old, staid ways of working.
3. Some peace & quiet
The enduring trend towards the open plan office generates the need for private pods and private areas, as the open plan concept does not always allow for optimal concentration or privacy. Private pods are needed whether it is to have a quiet phone call, meeting or place to work with no distractions. Therefore a combination of spaces is essential in the modern workplace.
Private areas can be in the form of innovatively designed telephone booths, sound proof focus rooms and sound proof space dividers, to name a few.
4. Bringing the outside in
Biophilic design, which focuses on peoples’ innate love of nature, is a trend that we will be seeing a great deal of in 2018. People are wanting to see more natural elements in their environment as the average person spends 90% of his or her time indoors.
Nature is now a massive influential factor when considering the design of a building. Nature’s elements are being brought into buildings via textures, patterns, natural lighting, and live plants. There is a growing preference amongst people in the office that the more natural the building’s finishes are, the better. We will see more of this trend in large cosmopolitan cities, where exposure to nature is difficult.
5. Wellness in the workspace
Contributing to employee wellness is not something companies can simply rule out anymore. Wellness programmes encouraging physical and mental health. Work gyms, showers and breakout spaces providing complimentary healthy refreshments are some of the few offerings that create greater employee satisfaction.
The office space is heading towards exciting things next year as companies get innovative in their way of thinking.
Emma Leith is the Interior Decorator at Giant Leap.