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A1 Office.

2021 Office Workspace Design Trends to Look Out For

The global COVID pandemic of 2020 has seen more changes to the office workspace than any other year previous. If we were to recap this year in terms of what employers had implemented in their offices, we can see 2020 as the year of change, adaptability and flexibility in the workplace. Moreover, 2020 has also seen us working from home and using plenty of technology to stay connected to staff and for work tasks.

With challenging times, the office workspace has also undergone some transformations when returning back to the workforce from COVID-19. These include: Placing an emphasis on wellness in the workspace, incorporating “COVID-Safe” sanitary stations around the office, heading towards a more sustainable office layout, including breakout spaces to allow for social distancing and designing open plan workstations and meeting rooms for collaboration success.

In 2021, How will we work, live and thrive in the post-pandemic year?
How is Covid-19 reshaping our world?

A key defining element that companies will foresee in their designs, include using the layout of their offices as a marketing element to strengthen their employer brand, that inspires staff and attracts and retains new generations to their workplace to make every day interesting and enjoyable.

At A1 Office we take the above factor into consideration, but we also see the future of the office space as an opportunity to enhance collaboration, embrace business culture and foster connection with clients as equally important. 

Our team has created a list of design trends for 2021 which we hope will give you a glimpse on what to expect in workplace designs for next year.

These include:

Shared common areas – The new workspace will be different from your standard office and will have emphasis on collaboration areas and co-working spaces. Co-working spaces consist of office members who work for a variety of different companies and projects. The unique skills that co-workers possess, will in turn help businesses to achieve a greater result than what is set out within the business. To view some areas we have designed please click here.

Flexibility – The work focus will be more so on the output than the importance on the office work hours, as employers have realised that they crave both togetherness and separation in the workplace. Multi-functional workspaces have risen in recent years, but the focus will continue to evolve with dynamic flexibility. This incorporates elements such as moveable, multi-functional, lightweight, and ergonomic designs, which are more so focused to fit any office space. 

Your office must provide your employees with the flexibility to choose how and where they work at different points of time. The MIRVAC report, COVID-19 and the changing world of the work, highlights that the Australian workforce was already heading to a flexible office layout ahead of the commencement of COVID. The report states ‘all…had begun their digital journey, whether it was by equipping staff with laptops, implementing a flex policy, or investing in IT infrastructure and video conferencing tools.’ Moreover, the question remains for workers who can’t work from home. What will the office look like for them? Decentralised office solutions and satellite offices, which focus on having work done at or near work may be a solution to look out for. Location based working, which involves using a web of different locations to suit various activities, rather than staying put in one place may also be useful in the flexible transformation to office workspaces.

Tech Emphasis – Technology will help a workplace with space utilisation and people management. Already we have seen how popular technology has been, in regards to experiencing Zoom or Microsoft Team calls. AV equipment and voice activation will seem popular next year as well. BBC Worklife indicates that, ‘technology enables multiple modes of working. Data is saved on cloud; access and security are tailored for different working modes; and applications allow seamless virtual collaborations.’ However, struggles with online connection is the downside with technology, as well as face-to-face connection required for collaboration and building relationships. The positives will simply surpass the downsides of tech. However it is true that video conferencing has enabled meetings which are shorter, more effective and with quicker decision making.

Sustainability – Designing innovative, eco-friendly designs which are good for the planet, ourselves and future generations, is an aspect of design which will continue to flourish. Designing dynamic spaces that are human-centric and feel authentic to the brand and values of a company, will also leave room for growth and new advanced technologies. Incorporating natural colours with a focus of beige, mellow green, brown, and other similar colours will keep trending. Wooden furniture and materials made of glass and other natural elements such as fabrics of cotton, linen, matting, will also be favoured. Decor with natural leaves and plants being incorporated in the office design will assist with the productivity and add a natural ambiance to the design.

 Well-being goal posts have shifted – Due to COVID, businesses have seen the impact of how mental health can affect individuals when working remotely. Specifically, remote work can diffuse any work-life boundaries and therefore also reduce mental wellbeing. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around one in five people reported found it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in lockdown. Finding the correct work/life balance is important and you can definitely do so within the office space. 

Well-being programs, having specialists regularly at work, including the enhancement of biophilic design and incorporating positive, healthy colours within interior design are all factors which will continue to be seen for 2021 to assist with well-being.

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