Active’s Workplace Trends Report – 2016

Year on year the Active team follow the latest design trends and concepts in the workplace. Through the attendance of a range of industry events including; trade shows, seminars and discussions, Active has seen both the development of existing trends as well as several new trends immerge into the market.

2016 has seen many changes in the workplace. With millennials now accounting for the majority of today's workplace and Gen Z entering for the first time, designers are now catering for a new audience when it comes to workplace design.

So what trends have we seen this year…?

The Rise of Co-working

2016 has seen a dramatic rise in the use of Co-working spaces, with almost 80% of the UK's Co-working spaces planning to expand in the near future according to The Social Workplace. Traditionally occupied by freelancers and start-ups, co-working spaces are now attracting bigger businesses seeking a more flexible working environment. The co-working office offers a range of benefits; not only allowing workers to network with other companies but also to connect with people within their own organisation that they might not normally deal with on a day to day basis. By providing an environment designed to accommodate a range of different job roles and people, employees are more likely to be inspired and productive in their work.

The Mobile Worker

The constant developments of technology mean that office workers are no longer bound to the desktop and are given the ability to work anywhere. Advancements in cloud based technology means that employees can work anywhere and still be able to access files safely. This ability to be mobile means that companies can allow their employees a greater sense of choice when it comes to where they work and enables them to choose the most appropriate environment for the task in hand. With a rise in the technology comes the ability to create the agile office, a concept that has been adopted by more and more companies throughout 2016.

A Trust Based Culture

Striking the right balance between life and work is an ongoing problem for today's office worker, with the latest generation of workers demanding more flexibility to work elsewhere, employers are being forced to move towards a trust based culture. According to research from BT this year, two thirds of UK office workers say mobile working is more important than a company car. In order to maintain a satisfied and engaged workforce companies must adapt and allow staff to manage their own time effectively. By allowing employees to do this, they can feel a greater sense of ownership over the time, boosting job satisfaction and encouraging retention.

A Biophilic Approach

The incorporation of natural elements within the workspace has flourished over the last few years with more and more companies using it as a way to combat employee wellbeing within the office. With continuous research being produced to re-inforce the benefits of Biophilic Workplace design, office designers are beginning to integrate natural elements through more than just the addition of a potted plant. This year we have seen new and innovative means of incorporating nature including the use of natural shapes and textures throughout the office.

Home Sweet Home…

Over the last few years the lines between the office and home have become increasingly blurred. This year in particular has seen the domestication of the office taken to new levels with workplaces taking inspiration from hotel lounges and cafes. Companies are dedicating more and more of their office space to socialising through the use of breakout areas and large communal kitchens and are acknowledging that by providing their employees with a comfortable environment they can create a more productive workforce. By introducing simple features such as coffee bars, comfortable seating areas and places for retreat, employees are made to feel at ease and have proved to be significantly more satisfied with their working environment.

With a new generation of occupiers entering year on year it is important that the workplace adapts in order to keep up with the varied demands of its workforce. Despite the workplace design landscape continuously changing, there are some simple yet effective ways of Future proofing your workplace. Take a look at our January Blog for helpful tips and advice on how to build an office that won't expire!