Office design trends: COEL’s predictions for 2024
2023 was the year the workforce continued to return to the office and when employers began to think more creatively about what the future of the workplace looked like.
There was, and we suspect that there will continue to be, avid discussion around the new concept of the office – a space truly centred on the human needs of the workforce. As we predicted, employee wellbeing, biophilic design and collaboration were at the heart of office design in 2023.
But what does office design in 2024 look like?
We asked our design team for their top predictions for office interior design in 2024.
Top 5 Office Interior Design Trends for 2024
1. Farewell to fixed desking
Due to the significant shift in working styles and preferences in recent years, we expect that more and more offices will move away from having fixed desks to accommodate a growing need for flexible desking.
Drop-in and touch-down points are likely to become more prominent in office design, as are collaborative spaces that enable teams to work more efficiently and effectively together
These spaces are a direct response to the rise of hybrid working but they are also great at encouraging collaboration between teams and across departments.
2. Cracking down on greenwashing
Sustainable office design is not a tick-boxing exercise. From the materials you choose, to the lighting you install and from the process you undertake onsite, to the culture you foster in your workspace – sustainability should be considered from the outset of the project.
As new techniques continue to be developed, we expect to see a substantial rise in materials, finishes and furniture that are truly sustainable. By this we mean retaining the product in its natural state to minimise environmental impact. An example we have recently come across is acoustic wall panels made entirely out of mushrooms!
Whilst mushrooms might not be the right solution for every client, we expect to see more and more consideration of these thoughtful products and finishes being implemented in workplace design.
3. Mimicking a home office environment at work
Despite significant efforts and in some cases even ‘return to office mandates’, employers have been struggling to entice their employees back into the office.
Why the reluctance to return to the office?
Research has shown that when employees compare the home and office working environment, they often conclude that the comfort and flexibility that working from home provides them can not easily be replaced.
As a result, we expect to see office designs begin to mimic the home office environment even more in 2024 – particularly when it comes to privacy.
There will be an increased focus on having adequate individual or focused workspaces, that mimic the level of privacy and comfort an employee would have if they were to be working from home e.g. quiet areas to enable online meetings.
We are likely to also see a shift in the way the client branding is incorporated into the design. We expect this will more more soft and refined.
4. Expanding wellness-centric design
There was a significant focus on employee wellbeing during 2023 and we don’t expect that to stop any time soon. In fact, we see it being amplified.
In 2024, office design will continue to focus on leveraging light, biophilic design and furniture to maximize employee satisfaction, wellbeing, and productivity – but it will also go beyond it.
We expect to see employers take into consideration the location of their workspaces even more in 2024. Access to gyms, transportation links, restaurants, shops or even a place to go on a walk and be immersed in nature, are all aspects employees will be looking for as these can drastically increase employee wellbeing and employee retention.
This will allow offices to become dynamic environments, that can meet the staff’s varying needs throughout the day.
5. Accessibility and space for all
As we become more and more aware of the diverse needs of our varied workforces, we understand that not every person will perform a task in the same way.
Neurodivergent employees can struggle in a traditional office environment and – in order to design and deliver an inclusive workplace – it is essential to analyse the differing needs and approaches of your staff.
- Areas with low-stimulation to help with focus, quiet rooms where concentration or privacy is needed and less populated spaces to help with social anxieties.
- Social spaces for extroverts and to provide breakout spaces to allow time away from screens and intense work.
- Well designated areas and cleverly selected furniture to indicate the purpose of a space
- Access to natural and artificial lighting to denote expected behaviours and support activities within the space.
2024 will be the year when offices will provide staff with an elevated and more tailored experience.
Planning the right office space will be about catering to a variety of needs and making the most of the materials and tools available to today’s discerning interior design teams and their clients.
Whether it be access to public transport or a dedicated space where they can do focused work, or technological advancements and adoption of artificial intelligence… We expect to see a continued demand for highly tailored, flexible, human-centric spaces.
Katie Oldknow, Head of Design at COEL, commented:
“In 2024 we will continue to incorporate flexibility and enhanced functionality throughout the office landscape.
Sustainability goals and requirements will increase as companies embrace their environmental responsibility. We will look to include more radical sustainable materials as they become more readily available.
We will see a strong palette shift towards warmer tones and softer neutrals as a direct influence from the typical home working environment.
Further recognition of a broad range of needs throughout the working day and building on innovative and sensitive ways of incorporating into commercial design.
An exciting year ahead!”
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