The links between an employee’s working environment and productivity are well known, and backed up by several pieces of research.

So it’s perhaps not surprising that industry insiders are predicting that the emphasis of office design this year will be firmly on the employee, specifically from a health and well-being perspective.

This marks a shift from previous conversations , which have focused more on ‘objects’, from furniture to space and technology, or even policies.

There has been much news of late about the perils of spending too much time sitting down, and, in some quarters this has even been described as ‘the new smoking’.

One study, carried out with the University of Waterloo suggests that, during the course of the working day, ideally one should be standing for 45 minutes in every hour. So a move towards more sit-standing desks that give users control over height and posture is something that will continue to gather momentum this year.

Beyond that, we’re sure more organisations will be thinking in terms of designing workspaces to actively encourage movement throughout the working day. Workplaces will make it easier for workers to ‘unlimit’ themselves from a single desk.

The so-called millennials will continue to influence office design. This generation, of people born in the 1980s and 1990s, wants a career offering a strong sense of purpose, and to be able to contribute to the greater good. So designers will be thinking of how these aims can be embodied within workspaces. Collaboration, for example, is important to this group, as are areas for socialising at work.

Another trend for 2017 could well be a tendency towards a more personalised form of lighting. Clearly, the right lighting can have a significant impact on workplace productivity, and many in the industry have seen more organisations taking an interest in allowing workers to dim or brighten their own lighting.

Finally, as part of the growing emphasis on ‘wellness’, we may well find we see more connections with the natural world, given that the benefits of exposure to nature are well documented. That could include working with natural or plant-inspired materials, or maximising natural daylight, for example. Think stone accents, wooden floors and warm colours as other ideas.

If a single theme emerges, it is about control. Not of the individual by the employer; rather the employer providing the tools for employees to control their own working environment – place, posture and light - thus enhancing wellbeing and productivity.

At Interion, we provide a stellar service for the design, delivery and installation of workplace furniture, as well as a high level of after-sales care. Talk to us about how your office could be on-trend in 2018. 

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