The latest workplace furniture trends were on display last week at NeoCon, the annual office furniture trade show.
The Neocon furniture conference wrapped up last week, but its effects on the office furniture industry are just getting started. It’s a great place to go and get a feel for where the industry is going, and what the current trends are in office furnishings. Sandra Martinez from the website Michigan Live has a great recap of the show (and the pictures below).
The open office movement was all the rage just a few years ago, but now it is encountering some backlash. Critics argue that it is hard for workers to find privacy amid all the collaborative spaces.
This problem is giving rise to a concept called the compact office pod, a self-contained, ergonomic and private work area that can be placed among the collaborative space. Does it look too weird?
“It’s one of the most important products I’ve seen in the industry in years,” said Rob Kirkbride, a Grand Rapids-based journalist who covers the office furniture industry for Monday Morning Quarterback. “I think in two to three years everyone will have this product. I think it is really significant.”
By now you certainly know that sitting is really bad for you, but most of the alternatives like standing desks only address the sitting you do at your desk. What about all those meetings you have to sit through?
Well, more and more companies are moving to standing meetings. Before you dismiss the idea, consider all the other benefits besides getting you out of your chair: you are more engaged (read: less likely to doze off) and standing meetings tend to be shorter and more productive.
In response to this trend, conference and breakroom furniture is getting taller with bar height tables and chairs that allow attendees to sit or stand, (or switch back and forth if the meeting is too long.)
Home sweet office
More and more work is being done out of the traditional office, mostly at home. Furniture designers are embracing this trend by rethinking the home office – upscale, with interesting colors and fabrics, as well as pieces that can serve as informal conference furniture.
Less room for the boss
Real estate is at a premium these days and the corner office won’t escape this trend. Executive offices are getting smaller, and many are also being shared or split.
Executive furniture is being built to reflect this trend and even to be repurposed for other uses when the boss is not around, like as a small conference room for example.