Hayley Francis

As we reach the end of what has been yet another challenging year for so many, we look forward to 2022 and provide our thoughts on how the change we’ve all experienced is likely to translate into the shape of the future workspace.

 

From Workplace to Collaborative Hub 

We’ve seen already that workplaces are certainly not dead. They’ve just evolved.

They’re now often referred to as hubs, places where people can collaborate in person and connect again. This is likely to continue over the next year as people are given greater ownership as to how they work to suit the needs of the task.

Furniture suppliers and trend setters are already promoting the ‘hybrid’ approach and producing serious solutions to support the home and office worker. It’s only been a couple of years of working in the ‘new normal’ but it just goes to show how quickly we can adapt and will adapt further.

Wellbeing first 

The last couple of years have totally transformed the concept of the ‘office’. There are now people entering the workforce who have never worked in a ‘traditional’ office, and only know the hybrid model.

This expectation shift is likely to continue to translate into how we design spaces – putting wellbeing at the forefront and creating destinations where people choose to work, collaborate and socialise.

Resimercial: a marriage of Residential & Commercial Design

With so many people working from home over the last two years and only now slowly migrating back into office environments, the biggest change we are likely to face in 2022 is a merging of office and home interior styles.

Working from home has forced many of us to adapt to flexible working, and thanks to technology, it has proven successful. And although it’s safe to say that most of us cannot wait to see the back of video conferencing, there are other aspects of home working we’d quite like to hold on to.

Office design will move towards a more residential style, giving staff a space that feels comfortable, inviting and more importantly… Safe. Gone are the days of formal meetings and the 9-5, and with more flexibility to our old working routines, the employers’ focus has switched to wellness, comfort and support.

A home away from home

By providing a space that feels like home, the office spaces of 2022 will become hubs/communities, a space between the home and office where we can catch-up, socialise and focus when needed. This style will primarily be translated into the office space by the use of neutral, nature focused colours and materials, agile and collaborative open spaces with focus pods and private working areas intertwined.

Technology and flexibility will be key. Providing sufficient technology to enable seamless connectivity (wireless charging points, a variety of AV equipment etc.), and an array of work settings (meeting booths, height-adjustable desking etc.), to cater for everyone’s needs.

The future workplace will be a community, bringing people together and providing a sense of belonging. As humans, we need to feel connected again.

No more excuses 

Following on from the ripple effect of COP26 in November, we predict there will be far more emphasis on the environment in 2022.

End Users will feel the pressure to really walk the walk when it comes to environmental strategies. Gone is the time for paying lip service to sustainability.

This in turn will put the responsibility back on designers. It will become standard practice across the industry for us all to work with suppliers and contractors who have clear sustainability policies. And can demonstrate that their products and processes show due care and consideration for the lasting effect on our environment.

At the end of the day we all have a responsibility, no matter what part of the cog we play in the construction wheel, to ensure the benefit for future generations.

 

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