The worldwide pandemic threw a spanner into the traditional office workspace, with many opting to work from home until the threat had subsided. As more and more people begin to migrate back to the workplace, all eyes are on modernizing the office space for a new era. Many of the techniques that worked in previous years are still valid, but there are a few more trends that are picking up steam inside the corporate world, and they deserve a mention.
From the choice of color, to lighting, and even the use of accents, these are the trends that help transform a workspace into a vibrant hub where people can feel more engaged with their work. Here is our list of the top office design trends to watch out for in 2022.
This trend is one of the least considered of the bunch, but many companies are now jumping on board, and implementing it within their workspaces. When one hears the word “aromatherapy,” they tend to think of potpourri, the pleasant scent of lavender, or other smells that can have a soothing effect. In truth, there are a bunch of different scents that can contribute to a positive work environment, and these include things like freshly brewed coffee, or the smell of baked goods in the break room.
Other scents, like cinnamon, peppermint or citrus can have a positive effect, and some of these can be achieved with the use of particular cleaning products. However, caution should be exercised, as different people have different olfactory limits. Just as an overabundance of perfume or cologne can overwhelm others in the workplace, so too can smells that are too strong.
Full disclosure – color trends change annually, with different design motifs demanding different palettes in order to function as intended. Therefore, it’s important to look at the colors that are already making waves as businesses head into 2022.
Blue continues to be associated with safety, which has a calming and reassuring effect on the human mind. It’s also handy for wooing customers and clients, since blue makes people want to spend more time in its presence.
Green is still associated with a sense of nature, and it can be applied not only through paint, but also décor techniques such as biophilic design. By placing a few trees and plants throughout the workspace, green can act as a morale booster.
Earth tones are making a comeback, but they needn’t look drab and uninspiring like the office designs of the 1970s. Instead, these tones are designed to mimic an organic feel, and when used as base colors in conjunction with the right office furniture, they can look trendy and contemporary. Off-whites, tans and other neutrals can help inspire a minimalist, clean and flexible workspace.
Other colors, such as lime and bright orange are more frequently being incorporated into workplace design, but they should be used cautiously. These are rather bold and striking colors that can have the opposite effect, if used incorrectly.
REINFORCED RECREATION AREAS
Open concept workspaces have taken off in the last decade, driven primarily by the belief that employees work better when they’re not cooped up in cubicles and cramped rooms. The tradeoff, however, is a lack of privacy, and that can spell trouble for some employees who require a quiet environment in order to do their best work.
Recreation areas have become a secondary go-to solution for these employees, allowing them to take their work to a quieter area that tends not to be used much during actual work hours. These relaxing areas can be sectioned off, without robbing the office of its open plans.
As well, partitions go a long way towards striking a healthy balance, and some can be used with black glass inserts to give a sense of space, while still maintaining privacy. They can even be soundproofed in order to give employees a better sense of peace and quiet.
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about utilizing natural lighting in a workspace, to counter the negative effects of fluorescent bulbs. LEDs have also been adopted in mass quantities, thanks in large part to their environmental friendliness, and more pleasant lighting. In fact, LED technology has now evolved to the point where companies are mimicking actual sunlight, providing a major boost to employee morale, all through artificial means.
However, lighting goes far beyond just having open windows with the sun pouring in throughout the day. Different people have different preferred lighting preferences. Some employees like working in dimly lit rooms with a warm desk light, which boosts creativity and relaxation. Others have even implemented candles as a way to elicit more positive energy within a room, though they tend to be used in conjunction with other lighting sources.
The key here is to provide flexibility for employees when it comes to lighting, though that can sometimes be difficult with office spaces designed to cater to all employees, at once.
BRINGING THE HOME INTO THE WORKPLACE
More remote work occurred between 2020 and 2021 than any time in human history, showing that flexible work will have lingering effects for the foreseeable future. Employees who turned their homes into offices have become used to it, and migrating back into the workplace requires that companies get clever.
The objective should be to create a sense of the home within the office workspace, but that doesn’t mean catering to habits that can have a negative impact on productivity. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of aesthetics, and atmosphere. Companies should actually adopt a less focused view of the workspace, and introduce a little bit of disarray into the mix. This can manifest itself in unassigned or modular desk furniture, informal conference rooms, and collaborative spaces with no real sense of geometry, or purpose.
Ironically, this kind of approach can create a more relaxing work environment typical of the home office layout, and that’s reassuring for many who are feeling intimidated about making the daily commute to the office building.
This mixture of new and old trends will be at the forefront of office design trends in 2022, and they might trigger an evolution of the office environment as we move forward. The trauma of the pandemic means that employees need to feel not just safe, but inspired to get back into the swing of things. The 2020s started off on a very wrong note, but tips like these might just help correct our course, and make the post-Covid era into a winner.
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