As we move into the new decade, office building design is changing. While monochromatic colors, cubicles, and productivity-fueled design used to rank supreme, now, more and more companies and employees are looking for more flexibility, comfort, and fun in their workspaces.
It’s no wonder why things are changing. The average American will spend an astonishing 90,000 hours of their life working, so more companies are making an enjoyable atmosphere a priority.
Here are a few office building design trends for 2020 that we expect to skyrocket in the next decade.
Collaboration is a vital part of any business, and now, companies are doing more to promote cooperation with their building’s design. Wide-open office areas, big tables, conversation nooks, and more are becoming increasingly popular.
While there’s no surefire way to design a collaborative space, it’s all about creating spaces that foster cooperation. Sometimes it’s about setting up separate collaboration rooms. Other times, it’s about eliminating collaboration barriers, like cubicles, or closed-off offices. Design experts agree that the best way to promote a collaborative environment is by setting up your building in a way that forces people to interact throughout the day.
No matter how you decide to incorporate it, collaboration needs to be a critical part of your office building’s new design.
Prioritizing of Comfort and Flexibility
Again, people spend a lot of their lives at work. That’s why more executives are creating lounge areas and fully functional kitchens. While productivity is still a priority, providing areas that are calming and relaxing can work wonders for overworked employees.
If you don’t want to commit to a full lounge area, think about small changes, like more comfortable chairs, or the ability for flexible workstations. For example, instead of everyone having an assigned space that they must work from, have several work spaces, and people can choose to work wherever feels most comfortable for that day.
This small shift in design philosophy from productivity-focused to flexibility-focused ends up leading to a more productive workforce. Allowing people to work where they’re most relaxed will yield better results than forcing everyone to work within the confines of what seems most productive.
Shockingly, workplace stress is the number five leading cause of death in America. That’s why more office buildings are being designed with the incorporation of mood boosters. It’s well-documented that natural light improves mood and decreases depression, so office buildings are moving towards designs that allow for the flow of natural light.
Obviously, large windows are crucial, but incorporating glass walls throughout the building is a stellar way to let the sun rays shine through, even if you aren’t next to a window. Big glass barn doors, switchable privacy glass, and skylights are all creative ways to ensure that your design incorporates more natural light.
Beyond lighting, nature is a known mood booster, too. So, plants, terrariums, live walls, ponds, and more will all become more prevalent in 2020.
Emphasis on Durability
It’s no secret that the weather and pollution conditions in the United States continue to become more volatile, that’s why office buildings are beginning to prioritize durability against storms, natural disasters, and pollution.
One simple way to increase water resistance and decrease air and noise pollution is by incorporating architectural louvers to the outside of the building. Also, to design with durability, always choose quality products and construction over price. Don’t cut corners with durability. Design your office building with materials that can stand up to harsh weather conditions.
Additionally, be sure to create floor plan designs that allow your employees to quickly seek shelter or exit the building in case of an emergency.
Sustainability is a trending buzzword in the design and corporate world, so it’s no shock that sustainable materials are making waves in this new decade. Reclaimed wood is a popular sustainable material choice. It can be used for desks, décor, furniture, wood beams, and more.
Other materials like concrete, cork, recycled metals, bamboo, and recycled glass are also popular sustainable materials. Incorporating sustainability will be a huge trend for the foreseeable future.
Try These Office Building Design Trends
These are just some of the office building design trends making waves in 2020. If you keep the above things in mind while designing your office building, you’ll be ahead of the curve. The most significant overall trend is the emphasis on employee and workplace happiness. As long as you keep that in mind with your design, you’ll be on your way to designing an office building that’s both aesthetically pleasing and employee approved.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.