As people return to the office, there is much talk about what the future of work will look like. Employees may feel apprehensive - they want to experience interaction with others, but they also want to feel comfortable and safe.
While the office still exists, it's beginning to look and feel considerably different. Flexible work environments were already a factor before 2020, however, many employees have now experienced working from home and may be hesitant to embrace a traditional five-day week in an office again. Here are some trends to expect in this new office era:
- Focus on personal space and privacy
- Emphasis on health and wellness
- Attention to sustainable furniture design and finishes
- Efficient use of conference and training rooms
- Redesigned communal spaces
Learn more about three easy steps to take to enhance your office furniture buying.
Most offices need reconfiguration to some degree. Now is a great time to consider making the new spaces more user-friendly, vibrant, comfortable, and functional. Open-concept designs have been a feature of office life for more than 20 years, providing better socialization of people and higher productivity. Now is the time to implement lessons learned and incorporate fresh ideas when sourcing new furniture or repurposing what you have.
Personal Space & Privacy
Employers need to prioritize the balance between personal space and opportunities for collaboration. A new term has emerged to describe a solution for safe person-to-person interactions: privacy furniture. This refers to both the design and positioning of furniture, using natural dividers and screening accessories. Privacy furniture lets employees work collaboratively as a team while also having space for themselves.
Health & Wellness
Companies opening the office need to reassure employees that they will be safe, on top of sanitation basics. Ensure safety and cleanliness are guaranteed when refurnishing shared areas such as kitchens and relaxation spaces. With an increasing demand for hygienic and contamination-free surfaces, the use of self-cleaning protective materials is growing.
In addition to the safety and cleanliness of a worker's space, companies need to consider the physical well-being of their employees. Effective ergonomic solutions and furniture designed specifically for workers' body comfort and efficiency can lead to greater productivity and an overall healthier workplace.
Furniture Design & Finishes
Furniture that is easily movable, flexible, and lightweight will ensure that you can reconfigure and rearrange layouts as floor plans change. Opt for the latest microfiber fabrics for couches and chairs as they are less expensive and can withstand heavy use. They can repel stains and spills, inherently reducing maintenance costs.
Employees also like to know that their furniture materials are sustainably sourced, non-toxic, and recyclable. Sustainability is based on the principle that socially responsible products are good for the environment, society, and business.
The way we use conference rooms is changing. There is a shift from a large-group conference room to multiple smaller spaces that offer more flexibility through moveable dividers or acoustic panels for separation. Conference tables are becoming smaller and more adaptable to accommodate the need for fewer people per square foot.
Communal SpacesCommon spaces such as employee lounges, kitchenettes, cafeteria tables, and water cooler spots are also shifting. Rest areas will be smaller in size and need to strike a balance between being cleaning-friendly and warm and inviting.
What Does This Mean For Procurement?
Decide what works best for your specific needs and budget accordingly by selecting cost-friendly materials while space planning your project. A Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) offers a range of services to help manage your project timeline, considerations, and budget.
Ensure all your workspace needs with the Herman Miller Office Furniture program through OMNIA Partners. Members can select from a variety of multi-faceted furniture solutions to meet design requirements for complex installations.
ABOUT HERMAN MILLER & OMNIA PARTNERS
The Herman Miller program through OMNIA Partners provides sophisticated, innovative, and cost-efficient furniture solutions to transform and empower your workplace.
Herman Miller is a globally recognized leader in design. Since our founding in 1905, our innovative, problem-solving products and services have inspired the best in people wherever they live, work, learn, heal, and play.
Our growing family of purposefully selected, complementary design brands is guided by a shared purpose—design for the good of humankind. We shape places that matter for customers while contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
To learn more about how OMNIA Partners and Herman Miller can help you navigate your office furniture needs, check out: Simple Steps to Enhance Your Office Furniture Buying