Top 5 Trends in Office Design for Hybrid Work
July 4, 2023
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we stay productive has transformed.
“Whilst offices remain a crucial physical space for companies and their employees,” John Lau, Tendering Director for IBI, observes, “the digital extension of that space into employees’ homes and the environment around their homes is a primary driver of modern office design.”.
The rise of remote working has resulted in a paradigm shift in office design. Companies now need to create workspaces that cater to both in-person collaboration and remote work. With hybrid workers showing better work efficiency, there’s also a huge incentive to innovate.
To meet these new needs, several trends have emerged in office design. In this article, we will explore the five trends we’ve seen that are shaping office design in the post-pandemic era of hybrid work.
Flexible Layouts and Agile Spaces
In the hybrid work model, employees are allowed to split their time between working remotely and coming to the office. This has led to the need for more flexible and agile office spaces.
“A key challenge to truly successful flexible working practices is making sure that traditional face-to-face communication between colleagues is maintained.”, Neil Howard, Chairman and CEO of IBI Group adds. “Bringing whole teams physically together for specific periods during the week enhances collaboration, encourages problem-solving and improves the general well-being of employees. Building a workplace that can cope with both dynamics has become a genuine challenge and is requiring organisations to constantly review their real estate requirements.”
Forward-thinking companies are now incorporating large areas containing versatile furniture and modular layouts that can be easily configured to accommodate different team sizes and more informal working styles. These flexible spaces encourage collaboration, creativity, and adaptability, fostering a sense of inclusivity and engagement among employees.
Emphasis on Well-being and Health
The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of health and well-being especially in communal spaces like the office.
Office designs are now prioritising features that promote physical and mental wellness. This includes the integration of green spaces, natural lighting and ergonomic furniture.
Companies are also focusing more on air quality within the office as evidence grows that many workplaces lack adequate fresh air flow resulting in the build-up of carbon dioxide. High CO2 levels have a very real and negative impact on employees, reducing their energy levels and negatively impacting their mental sharpness. With connected air quality monitors like AWAIR and AIRTHINGS, it has become easy to monitor indoor air quality and integrate it into existing property management dashboards and systems.
Aside from monitoring, air filtration systems can also help keep infections at bay.
The installation of high-grade air disinfectant units such as Airpurion and Purilux significantly reduces viruses, bacteria and unwanted odours from the workplace. These units have a very real impact on air quality and are far superior to the many household air purifiers you see randomly placed around workspaces and restaurant outlets. – J S Gan, Building Solutions Limited
As a result of the heightened awareness of the need for good air quality, ventilation systems are being upgraded to ensure a safe and healthy working environment and more and more offices are now incorporating technology such as Airpurion and Purilux for air disinfection in key areas such as food preparation areas, pantries and toilet facilities.
Technology Integration for Seamless Collaboration
In the hybrid work model, the seamless collaboration between remote and in-person employees is vital.
Offices are now equipped with advanced technology to facilitate virtual meetings, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration. Interactive whiteboards, video walls, and high-quality audiovisual systems are being integrated into meeting rooms.
Additionally, companies are adopting digital workplace tools and cloud-based platforms to enable efficient communication and project management. This technology integration ensures that employees can collaborate effectively regardless of their physical location.
Hybrid Zones for Collaboration and Concentration
To cater to different work modes, offices are incorporating dedicated zones for collaboration and concentration.
Collaboration zones are designed to facilitate brainstorming sessions through team meetings and informal interactions. These areas may include open meeting spaces, huddle rooms, and communal areas with comfortable seating.
We are seeing much greater use of informal meeting spaces in workplaces and organisations no longer rely on fixed and formal meeting rooms. Not only are these new areas a more efficient use of spaces within an office, they are warmer, more inviting and more encouraging of face to face time between colleagues. – Calvin Yu, IBI Operations Director
On the other hand, concentration zones provide quiet and focused work environments for tasks that require deep concentration. These zones may feature soundproof booths or individual workstations with privacy screens. The availability of distinct spaces for collaboration and concentration enhances productivity and empowers employees to choose the environment that best suits their needs.
Embracing Sustainability and Green Initiatives
Sustainability has gained significant traction in recent years, and it has become even more relevant in the post-pandemic era. Companies are increasingly incorporating eco-friendly practices and technology into their office designs with much of the focus being on heating, coiling and lighting.
Energy-efficient lighting systems such as BSL’s ThinkLite LED provides users with the ability to retrofit existing fluorescent lighting fixtures without the need to replace the entire installation light fixture. This provides companies with massive savings in both initial installation, ongoing maintenance and reductions in electricity consumption.
An Exciting Future for Modern Offices
The hybrid work model necessitates a reimagining of office design. The trends discussed in this article reflect the changing needs of the workforce in a post-pandemic world. From flexible layouts and well-being initiatives to technology integration and sustainability, companies must adapt their office environments to support the hybrid work model, in order for it to be truly successful.
By embracing these trends, organisations can create spaces that foster collaboration, productivity, and employee satisfaction in the new era of work.