2021 was certainly another unpredictable and difficult year for many. Businesses worldwide have faced some of the toughest months, with uncertainty when it comes to their business, livelihood and doubts cast over the future of the office. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that even with flexible working and the events in the past two years, the office is here to stay, and is in fact, more important than ever. The office has brought workers together in times of uncertainty and isolation, and the best approach when it comes to office working is certainly a hybrid one, offering flexible working both from home and in the office, placing the choice with the employees. Hybrid working is certainly going to be prevalent going into 2022, and with new government advice being to work from home where possible, it looks like we’re due to face more disruption to the working day. It’s important to cater to these changes, and to ensure your office is suitable for flexible working and is set up in a way which prioritises employees. With this in mind, in this article we will review commercial interior design trends and styles from the past year and provide our expert opinion on the future commercial interior design trends for 2022.
A flexible working space does not simply mean offering your employees the option of working from home, it means offering an office space which caters for exactly that, through furniture and office management. Modular furniture will be incredibly popular, with an increased demand for a transformable office. Modular furniture allows you to move the office layout as you see fit, enabling social distancing, hot desking and general flexibility within the office space. You should provide quiet spaces for working, install sanitising stations and ensure the office is managed responsibly and with employee’s comfort at the forefront.
Sit stand desks will become increasingly popular, as they increase accessibility within the office as well as offering flexibility when it comes to the practice of hot desking. Recent months have highlighted the inequalities of the generic office space, with harsh lighting, standard size desks and no breakout spaces now recognised as barriers for people with disabilities. Offering a flexible workspace comes hand in hand with also ensuring your workspace is accessible. Sit stand desks, automated doors and quiet work spaces are just some of the ways in which you can increase accessibility within the office. Glass partitions are also expected to continue to be a popular addition to office spaces, a modernised solution to fabric screens, glass partitions allow light to pass through and do not block off the office space, but increase hygiene and reduce the likelihood of transmission. Internal office pods which cater for solo working or small meetings will be increasingly popular throughout 2022 too.
Due to long periods of homeworking forced onto employees, many are used to the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of their home office. Homeworking did come with caveats, however. These included an inability to switch off, with many working over hours as they’re constantly surrounded by a work atmosphere. Some were left feeling isolated and lonely, and makeshift home offices were certainly not correctly set up, with some working using ironing boards as a makeshift desk or working at their kitchen table. It’s important to find a balance between the positives of working from home and working in the office. With this in mind, we certainly expect to see an increase in home inspired office design, most likely influenced by Scandinavian interior trends. Office design in 2022 will certainly prioritise comfort, sofas and comfy chairs will make a return, most likely positioned within the increasingly popular breakout spaces. Breakout spaces offer the ability to escape from work, taking regular breaks improves productivity and boosts morale. These spaces are a vital element in any office design in 2021 and will remain to be throughout 2022, particularly when it comes to the transition of working from home to the return to the office.
In relation to ensuring a smooth transition in the return to the office space is the importance of reducing background noises and disruption. Employees may feel overwhelmed if they’re returning to a workspace which is not appropriately geared up for zoom calls, increased phone calls and fewer face to face meetings. This is why acoustic hangings, furnishings and partitions will become a staple in commercial spaces in 2022, especially in breakout spaces. Noisy offices are not accessible, and will reduce productivity drastically. With open plan offices still a common design trend, elements to reduce noises will be an integral element to any commercial space in 2022.
Technology has always been part of the office space, but with the rapid development of technology comes what people are referring to as the Smart Office. This has been in the works for years now, but has been spurred on by the pandemic. With face to face meetings being a thing of the past, technology has developed to offer remote working, better quality video calls, and in some cases controversially tracking software. With this, smart solutions have come into the workplace for safer working environments. This includes replacing ordinary doors with automatic ones, sensors for lights, contactless dispensers for soap and hand sanitiser, non-contact systems for flushing toilets and Titanium Hotspot Taps to replace a communal kettle. These are just a few of the ways in which the Smart Office will come into play in 2022, and the above also have the additional benefit of increasing accessibility within the office.
Biophilic design has been increasingly popular throughout 2021, with the recent year prioritising the benefits of the outdoors after many being left to isolate inside. Introducing plants and greenery to the office will not only mean it makes it more similar to a home office, but it will also encourage productivity and boost morale. Living walls made with moss are becoming a trend too. Alongside this, natural materials such as wood will become increasingly popular. With a greater focus on sustainability, using materials which are sustainably sourced and manufactured is vital when considering a new office design. Wooden furnishings will also fit the move toward Scandinavian design, with a theme of minimalism and neutral colour palettes. Natural lighting will be used wherever possible throughout the building, incorporating any elements of nature and the outside world within the office space to provide an open, non-claustrophobic space which is inviting and comfortable.
Here at Bluespace, we’re experienced commercial interior designers, creating spaces which motivate and inspire. If you’re looking for an update to your existing commercial space, or need a refit for a brand new space, we’re experienced in providing designs and installations across multiple sectors. From restaurants to football stadiums to showrooms and of course, office spaces, we will create your dream commercial space. Contact us today for a free consultation on 01603 722123.
We’ve really appreciated the help and expertise that Bluespace have offered us over the year, particularly in the recent challenging times post-lockdown. It’s great that they have decided to extend their deal and we look forward to a long and successful partnership. We’re grateful to Jonathon, Louise and everyone at Bluespace for their fantastic support.