In the modern workforce, traditional ways of arranging workspaces are giving way to new techniques and processes that emphasize employee comfort, engagement and collaboration. Here are some of the office design trends that are shaping the landscape of the early twenty-first century office.
Open floor plans and collaborative spaces: The traditional office set-up, with closed-in offices with doors bordering the exterior of the building and accessed by a network of hallways, is becoming a thing of the past. Whereas once employees had a visual symbol of their rank in the company in the size and placement of their office, new layouts are abandoning the closed-office style for open floor plans. Open floor plans put employees' work areas in a larger space without cubicles, walls, or other obstructions that close individuals off from each other. The idea of the open floor plan is to create collaborative spaces where employees can easily hear each other at work and can be part of the synergy that occurs when colleagues are working together at their peak. Conference areas are often placed in a central area where employees can easily gather.
Shared privacy areas: The idea of closed spaces has not been completely abandoned in modern office design trends. Office designers and builders are still making private spaces available for office workers. However, these privacy areas are not the norm, but are considered shared spaces to be used when employees have to make private phone calls, have sensitive or confidential conversations with fellow employees, or need a place where coworkers won't be able to overhear what's going on. These shared privacy spaces are often similar to the older-style private office, with solid walls and doors that can be closed to create a confidential space.
Excellent lighting: Office dwellers have begun to recognize the benefits of excellent lighting systems and office builders are responding. One of the office design trends in lighting is to make better and more widespread use of natural lighting to provide an environment that is not as harsh on the eyes. At the same time, lighting systems that use fluorescent or incandescent lighting are being replaced by LED lights and other light systems that use less energy but provide plenty of lighting for office tasks.
Touchdown spaces: Some office spaces can be built smaller in the modern business world, especially since many employees are more likely to be working out of the office, working at home or working remotely at another location. Construction professionals can take care to create well-designed and equipped touchdown spaces for employees who make temporary visits to a main office area. These spaces should provide easy access to computers, electrical outlets, phone lines, Internet connections, internal networks and other important features.
Safe, toxin-free environments: New office construction professionals are becoming more aware of the need to use building materials that are safe, nontoxic and free from volatile organic compounds and other materials that can affect office workers who are exposed to them for hours a day. At the same time, office workers appreciate a healthy working environment that is pleasant and free from materials that can aggravate allergies or asthma, irritate skin or eyes, or create respiratory troubles.
Energizing spaces: Another of the current office design trends that seeks to improve employee comfort and productivity is the creation of energizing spaces, or areas where employees can relax, gather their energy and get a different perspective. These types of spaces have been shown to significantly increase employee productivity and satisfaction. They make use of natural lighting, a relaxing environment and can even be constructed to mimic or incorporate features generally found in the outdoors.
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