Office design trends: A look at modern workspaces in 2024

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The workplace has changed markedly over the past few years. Not only has it changed in terms of who works in an office and who doesn’t, but also in the spaces themselves which have evolved.

Rather than staid cubicles or open-plan spaces that haven’t changed in decades, the forward-looking office is now striving to be a nice place to spend a working day.

From collaboration to overall wellness, the modern office is almost unrecognisable from 10 years ago.

Whether you’re planning an office upgrade this year or looking to incorporate new design elements to enhance employee wellbeing and productivity, here are some office design trends worth considering…

The Evolution of Office Design

The evolution of office design has had one clear path over recent years. The needs of the employee are in sharp focus, rather than simply  the needs of the employer.

Office design still delivers the features and functionality to keep the business profitable, but modern workplaces now focus more on what employees need to be productive rather than just providing a low-cost space to fit in as many people as possible. Think of it as a holistic approach to office planning and design.

Consequently, you’ll see some of the following in up-and-coming office spaces during 2024.

Key Elements of Modern Office Design

Key elements of modern office design include flexibility, hot desks, integrated technology and shared spaces.

It’s about giving employees what they need to be productive.

This includes hot desks, standing desks, meeting or collaborative workspaces, quiet spaces, sound insulation for meetings, and a range of other innovations.

These trends in particular will become popular this year:

Integration of Technology

Technology has, and will always have, a key part to play in the modern workplace.

Advances in technology mean that it can continue helping us stay productive without getting in the way quite so much.

In terms of integration, we’re talking about smart lighting to save energy, intelligent heating and cooling systems, noise-cancelling headphones, occupancy sensors, room and meeting booking apps or platforms, voice assistants, wireless and digital signage within the office.

Wellness Zones

While wellness programmes and initiatives within the workplace can be controversial, we view them as a positive that can truly enhance productivity and staff wellbeing.

Work is a marathon, not a sprint, and anything an employer can do to help with that will repay itself in staff loyalty and longevity.

Office trends in wellness are many and varied. You could consider quiet rooms where no phones are permitted, spaces to rest and recharge during breaks, gyms, rooms to stretch or meditate, outside walking areas, places to sit, collaborative spaces, and areas where people can congregate socially.

Hybrid Workspaces

The pandemic changed the office game entirely, making hybrid working a feature in most workplaces.

The 2023 McKinsey State of Organizations survey found that over 90% of organisations will be combining remote and onsite work even though we’re back to ‘normal’. In fact, new legislation in the UK means that employees now have more flexibility over where and when they work

Office space now needs to serve two audiences: The permanent office-based workforce and hybrid workers who combine working from home with the office.

Hybrid-friendly features include hot desks, ‘Zoom rooms’ where staff can have meetings without interrupting everyone else, and places where homeworkers and office workers can meet and catch up.

Multifunctional Spaces

Not every office has the luxury of space to permanently set aside for hybrid working or Zoom calls. Hence, multifunctional spaces are also trending.

Maximising the productivity of a space is just as important as the productivity of people. Making the most out of a space is all part of that.

Think about meeting rooms that can be quiet spaces when not in use, hot desks where staff can practise mindfulness to unwind, or coffee areas where office-based staff and homeworkers can catch up and reconnect.

Coffee Machines in the Workplace

One big trend we’re seeing in modern offices right now is offering better tea and coffee facilities.

Once the place to find wholesale sacks of cheap tea bags and even cheaper tins of own-brand coffee; we’re now seeing premium bean-to-cup coffee machines and even traditional barista machines as part of the café-style coffee offer.

There’s a whole movement around the productivity, creativity and mood-enhancing benefits of coffee, and smart businesses are capitalising on that.

Coffee machines also dispense coffee faster, but not so fast as to compromise the oh-so-important espresso brew time, so there’s less wasted time to add to those other benefits coffee brings.

Most coffee machines will also dispense tea, hot chocolate and other drinks too. If you have staff that don’t like coffee, they get the same benefits without feeling left out!

Investing in quality coffee facilities often costs the business just a fraction of what staff would spend at the local café, providing significant savings and added appreciation, particularly in these financially challenging times.

What’s Next in Office Design?

This year is going to be an exciting year for any business considering office refurbishment.

You have more opportunities to improve staff morale, loyalty and wellness without it costing too much or taking up too much space.

With a thoughtful office design, you could draw staff back to the workplace, attract new talent, and increase the loyalty of the talent you already have.

If that’s not worth a little consideration when designing your new office, we don’t know what is!