5 Workplace Designs That Are Changing the Way We Work

The modern office is evolving faster than ever as new design trends are continually splashed across workplaces up and down the country.

In recent years, offices have transformed from stuffy, dim, boxed-off cubicle-style layouts to thriving hubs where collaboration buzzes against the backdrop of the most trendy and functional interior designs.

Biophilic designs are ever-present and revert to industrial ‘bare bone’ materials that continue to prove popular designs. At the same time, a rise in spaces that promote the wellbeing of the office user shows no signs of slowing.

This year is no different, and if anything, has taken those design trends and moved into second gear.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular interior designs trends:

1. ‘Living walls’

The trend for leafy living walls continues to rise. Green-fingered urbanites particularly love them, and they are a clever way of bringing the outdoors into the office environment.

Living walls offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved air quality: Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which can help to improve air quality in indoor spaces.
  • Reduced noise pollution: Plants can help to reduce noise pollution by absorbing sound waves.
  • Increased energy efficiency: Plants can help to insulate buildings, which can lead to lower energy bills.
  • Enhanced visual appeal: Living walls can add a touch of greenery and beauty to any space.

2. Continued push for spaces that promote mental and physical well-being

Modern office designs are adapting to reflect the importance of employees’ health and happiness, and research shows that people with higher levels of well-being are more resistant to ill health, both physically and mentally.

Ergonomic office furniture is designed to stimulate a greater focus in perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response.

Ergonomic chairs reduce stress on the spine, neck, and hips by keeping the user upright, ergonomic keyboards increase typing speeds by reducing repetitive reaching and stretching, and pivotal monitors allow employees to focus on their screens for longer periods of time by reducing eye strains and headaches.

3. Relaxation/recreational breakout areas

With millennials predicted to make up half of the workforce by next year, new office design trends are emerging.

Office relaxation spaces where employees can unwind away from their working schedules is steadily gaining traction as the lines between work/life balance become more blurred.

A versatile office environment

Nowadays, dynamic and agile spaces should be highly interactive and not be hampered by any physical or ergonomic constraints.

Re-arranged furniture can have a substantial positive impact on the output of employees. For instance, if furniture is comfortable and organic, employees can work with minimal restrictions and therefore be more productive.

Big rise in flexible working and coworking spaces

Although coworking spaces have been around for many years, they have only recently come into the spotlight, mainly due to more providers entering the market to meet the needs of an increasingly fluid workforce.

The shift away from more traditional office spaces has aided the rising popularity of collaborative working environments.

More so than ever, coworking providers are seeking to create ‘a destination workplace’ – a space where people want to work.

Private workstations

Despite us seeing a continued rise in flexible workplace layouts, there’s still a compelling reason not to drop private workstations in offices altogether.

While most businesses dislike yesteryear’s traditional dividers and booths, semi-enclosed settings are still proving popular as they let employees work with as little distraction as possible without being completely closed off from the rest of the office.

Increase in privacy storage

The recent enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has altered the way in which employers store and secure sensitive data.

We can’t keep sensitive information visible on desks and computers for fear it could fall into the wrong hands. Safely securing data in appropriate storage, such as folders and filing cabinets/drawers, is crucial for all businesses in 2019.


Defurbishment or ‘defurb’ is the process whereby buildings have been altered to expose the bare bones of their structure, including beams and brick or stone walls.

Incorporating natural materials like wood, slate and even water features encourage a natural, eco-friendlier feel. This style can be particularly effective in helping to attract a younger demographic in both new staff and clients.

Nowadays, people also want to know what goes into their products, and office furniture is no different. Using durable, honest materials that have been reclaimed or upcycled is a great way to demonstrate a business’s sustainable and environmental values while creating an attractive brand identity that staff and customers/clients can buy into.

5. Human-centric designs

The human-centric design gives designers a deeper understanding of creating living spaces that are more humanistic, and holistic, and solve problems for people.

In a way, the challenge of human-centric design is even greater than a purely aesthetic approach because designers must consider the user’s needs, aesthetic appeal, and user-friendliness in their vision.

Mixing aesthetics into a human-centric design to create a unified whole with minimal artistic and ergonomic sacrifices is the ultimate challenge. The human-centric design sends a message that the employees are of the utmost importance. Businesses have realized that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t be used. To design better, the human aspect of each individual company must be considered – it’s why a human-centric approach is so important.

Overall, just like the Pantone of the year, living coral, offices are increasingly getting bolder and more striking by adopting multifunctional designs that provide benefits to both the business and user.

Ultimately, we’re getting smarter in how we can merge varying designs to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing, health-promoting, planet-saving, and profit-boosting, all while having a degree of flexibility to ensure an inclusive space for all.

There’s no doubt the Office of the Future will bring new and pioneering design trends, but for now, the office is leading the way in creating a working environment that allows the business, the environment, and the staff to win.

About the author: Lloyd Coldrick is the managing director at Cobus. He has been with the company for ten years and is highly experienced in creating inspiring spaces for the workplace environment.

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