Workplace Environment Trends

Employees spend the majority of their days in the office and as a result, the office environment has a big impact on well-being and productivity. It’s important that companies invest in workplace designs that enhance the employee experience, which can help improve the quality of their work while increasing employee satisfaction and retention.

Interior design trends for office and mixed-use space have been changing rapidly as technologies evolve. We’re also gaining more knowledge on how to use spatial arrangements to foster communication and collaboration.

Activity-Based Workplace Solutions

Dynamic and open workspaces allow employees to work where and how they want without being confined to traditional workstations. These adaptable work areas are characterized by flexible furniture arrangements so space can be configured to encourage group interaction and collaboration.

These spaces are designed to enhance creative activities such as brainstorming sessions or informal meetings. Movable walls or partitions are used so the area can be easily converted to serve different purposes, such as a meeting room or quiet nooks.

The flexibility of these dynamic layouts allow companies to move around and expand quickly. In addition, social interactions among colleagues contribute to mental well-being and a positive attitude towards work.

Even though open and flexible spaces that encourage collaboration are popular, employees also need quiet and private spaces to stay focused and get work done. Semi-enclosed areas are used as breakout spaces for a small number of employees to meet or collaborate, or for an employee to have a quiet, private space.

These private spaces don’t mean turning the office into the dreaded cubicle-ville. There are flexible ways to create enclosures within an open space so you can retain the fluidity of an open plan while letting employees work with as little distraction as possible.

Modern Privacy Workspace | Integrated Design Build Firm NY
Image source: Steelcase, Privacy-Friendly Workstations, Figari Group, accessed 9 April 2018, <>

Technology Integration

Gone are the days when people have to crawl under their desks and untangle a dozen cables just to hook up some equipment. Technologies are integrated into modern office designs to enhance productivity, communication, and collaboration.

Examples include video conferencing capabilities, wireless charging ports, smartboards, data sharing, and large screens for presentations. Seamless integration of workplace technologies allows employees to work anywhere in the office, making the best use of the open and flexible space.

Technology in the Workplace | Design Build Firm Syracuse
Image source: Steelcase, Maker Commons, Steelcase, accessed 9 April 2018, <>

Biophilic Design

Studies have found that being exposed to nature helps increase productivity. You can improve the well-being of occupants by introducing elements of nature into the office space. A biophilic office design may include the use of large glass panes to bring in natural light, artificial or natural plants to introduce a feeling of calm and focus, or nature-inspired patterns, forms, and components.

Designers are going beyond appearance to ensure materials are sourced and produced in an environmentally responsible manner. In addition, green technologies such as renewable energy sources for powering the office, greywater systems, and air purification renovations are being incorporated into the designs of offices and mixed-use buildings.

Accessibility Improvements

As inclusion has become a value for a lot of companies, office buildings have incorporated accessibility in their designs to accommodate employees. Besides layouts that are wheelchair-friendly, other accommodations that assist employees with disabilities include a real-time translation device to help those with a hearing disability, adjustable height desks, adaptive chairs, and other assistive devices.

Branded Workplace

Expressing your brand personality and story in the office environment helps inspire employees and serves as a reminder of the value and mission of the company. Texture, color palettes, imagery, and other elements can be combined to express how you want the brand to be perceived.

The Future of Workplace Design

Interior design trends for offices and mixed-use spaces are constantly evolving to adapt to changing employee expectations and workplace technologies. Layouts and designs need to accommodate the physical and psychological comfort of the employees so they can optimize their quality of work and improve satisfaction.

Interested in learning more about office space design? Here’s a look at office space design through the years.

VIP Structures is an integrated design-build firm in Upstate New York. Enjoy reading this post and want to learn more from our team? Browse our design-build blog.