As the return to the office gains steam, what are the major workplace trends that will dictate the design of offices and the furniture inside them?
- Furniture designed for WFH employees will continue as hybrid working becomes more common and companies look to upgrade home-working environments. According to Quintana Research and Consulting, the global home office furniture market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 7.5 percent from 2020 to 2026.
- While the purchase of office furniture was believed to be relatively outside the realms of e-commerce, three factors are increasingly shifting this perspective:
- the massive increase in buying online;
- the rise of younger generations At-a-glance: post-pandemic office trends making purchasing decisions on behalf of companies; and
- the increasing use of augmented reality and personalization tools to assist in decision making through “realistic” furniture placement in real-world settings.
- The pandemic has accelerated the present trend of health, hygiene, and wellbeing in the workplace, with businesses looking to refit offices to ensure employees feel safe and protected in the work environment. This includes installing air filtration systems, desk spacing, sneeze guards, sanitizing stations, touchless products, and digital signage.
- Accommodating collaborative and community-spirited areas, as well as smaller workspaces for individuals, will be crucial. Including mobile and modular furniture that can easily be moved around for collaboration and socializing will be key in designing the post-pandemic office. On the flipside, huddle rooms, pods and similar will become more popular for private meetings—either face to face, virtually, or both; as will a quiet space for working and privacy.
- There will be an increased focus on “resimercial” design for comfort and relaxed settings with soft furnishings (boosted recently by the CDC reporting that surfaces were not leading carriers of COVID-19) to foster collaboration and social cohesion.
- Expect an increase in outdoor furniture sales as companies look to maximize the use of existing space to provide a pleasant outside setting while helping address health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 and promoting employee wellbeing.
- Already an embedded trend before the pandemic, the rise in ergonomic furniture options such as sit-stand desks will continue.
- Sustainability is back on the agenda for office buildings, furniture manufacturing and materials, the supply chain, delivery, closed-loop and recyclability, and more environmentally friendly products in general.
- Whether it’s using highly sophisticated audiovisual systems for conferences and remote workers or ensuring pods, desks, and furniture cater for all types of power outlets and access to AV systems, the integration of technology into office and furniture design is imperative.
- The upswing in hybrid/blended/ flexible working will exert perhaps the most significant influence on the office in 2021. Not only will all of the above be impacted by this transition, but it will likely mean companies will re-evaluate their real estate, potentially downsizing and optimizing whatever space is left. The office will remain the primary workspace and refurbishments will witness an increase in demand.
For more information, contact our Furniture Department or click here.