Koura Office Design by Opus4 update (25)

What 2021 taught us about office design

2021 has seen a big shift to office design trends as businesses have adapted their buildings to respond to the changing world around them. In this blog post we look at some of the key things the last year has taught us about office design and fitout.

The office isn’t dead

If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that the office isn’t dead. At the start of the pandemic, as more people than ever dipped their toe into home working, many questioned if offices were a thing of the past. We learned that lots of our tasks can be done just as well at home and that online meetings bring a lot of added benefits (just remember to unmute yourself).

Fast forward to 2021 however and we were all missing the interaction and creativity that come from those ‘water-cooler moments’. We came to realise that offices are far more than just a place to work. They provide opportunities to share ideas, learn from one another and build relationships in ways that aren’t possible over a Zoom call. As a result, offices are still very much alive and kicking as we move into 2022.

Flexible design on the rise

As people pondered returning to the office after months of homeworking, it was clear that many didn’t want to return full-time. Instead, hybrid working became the order of the day – with employees moving between working at home and an office building. As a result, 2021 saw a shift from offices being used primarily as a workspace, instead evolving into ‘culture hubs’. These hubs became a place for connecting and innovation, rather than a place to carry out routine tasks.

Office design has had to adapt to support this new way of working. In many offices, fixed desks have made way for flexible meeting areas. We’ve also seen a number of offices redesigned to include several different environments such as comfortable seating and ‘Zoom rooms’.

SysGroup Office Design & Fitout

Relaxed office design

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve become used to homeworking and welcomed the relaxation of certain ‘office rules’ that it’s brought about. As we’ve started our return to the office, we’ve understandably wanted to bring some of this relaxation with us. As such, office décor is becoming much less formal than it once was.

In 2021, we’ve seen a big increase in design that really reflects a company’s unique office culture. Businesses are embracing colour, artwork and graphics in ways they never have before and are really pushing traditional boundaries. The days of magnolia walls and grey cubicles are gone. Office design in 2021 (and beyond) was distinctive and daring.

Ascentis Office Fitout

Sustainability and wellbeing key concerns

Concerns over sustainability in office design and fitout have been increasing for a number of years but 2021 really brought them to the surface. The COP26 conference shone a spotlight on the need for us all to reduce our carbon footprint – and offices responded. Sustainable construction and energy saving design measures became much more common place.

The impact of the pandemic also highlighted the need to put employee health and wellbeing at the forefront of workplace design. In 2021, many offices installed dedicated sanitisation areas and increased space between desks or workspaces to enable social distancing. Design features that enhance wellbeing also saw a rise. Biophilic design, for example, connects employees with nature which in turn helps to boost mood, productivity and more. Greenery also helps to absorb carbon, so it has a sustainability benefit too. Win, win.

Gamma Office Design and Fit Out

The office design trends we’ve seen emerge in 2021 look set to continue into the new year as we all continue to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not take a look at some of our most recent office fitouts. It could be time to make a change to your office in 2022?

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