As we usher in 2021, with the arrival of the vaccine and its rollout, there is much hope in the air. A hope that we might end up getting back to new normalcy sooner than expected. New normalcy because the way we live, work, interact has all undergone a change.
In the case of office design, foretelling the future trends has always been a difficult task, but in the current situation it is unpredictable. And as we inch towards some semblance of normalcy, it has made us reflect upon the upcoming design trends and a shift in the workplace, even as design firms, industry specialists and researchers speculate on the efficiency of an open office, team based workstations and coworking areas.
The stage is set for wider adoption of sustainable practices, technology innovation and a more human centric focus on employee well being.
Resimercial design sees renewed interest
Given the shift to work from home in the recent past, employees have become accustomed to a more casual work setting; and hence we see a return of the resimercial design and it is likely to play a pivotal rote in 2021. Interior design and aesthetics from both residential homes and commercial offices are merged to create an almost a work from home feeling. This in turn creates holistic engagement at the workplace, creating a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Technology to the fore
Whatever else you invest in, no workplace will be complete without technology and this year the focus will be on technology enablement. Superior technology to support work requirement irrespective of the location will be the order of the day. Seamless connectivity, upgraded video conferencing technology, coupled with provision of audio visual equipment is going to be the major key in connecting, communicating and collaboration.
Employees at the heart of the matter
Another cultural shift in 2021 office design is creating a workplace where employee safety and empowerment will be prioritised. New workplace protocols will require greater physical separation via spatial, physical and temporal means. Additionally, shared workstations over dedicated workstations are predicted to be the new trend. A rise in shared work settings and collaboration zones with more soft seating, idea-sharing resource and a more modular configuration that can be adapted to requirement and add to a fluid approach to teamwork is expected.
The current situation has also brought back the focus on design fundamentals like biophilia, ergonomics, modular configuration, acoustic furniture- all of which form the basis of good practices in workplace design.