The past few years have undeniably transformed office spaces and the way they’re designed, and as the needs of office workers have changed, so too must the approach to workplace design. And while functionality will always play a role in office design, 2023 looks set to incorporate elements of comfort and features that facilitate employee wellbeing and productivity.
With a new year on the horizon, here’s what we expect to see when it comes to workspace refurbishment and design.
Sustainable office design
While it’s not a new trend, it’s one that won’t be leaving any time soon – sustainability has become a key focus for businesses the world over. When it comes to building new offices or refurbishing existing office spaces, sourcing materials is a huge part of creating a sustainable design, and we expect to see sustainability continue to influence purchasing decisions.
Whether materials are sourced locally, which reduces the carbon footprint when transporting them, or they’re recycled materials that have been repurposed, sustainable office design is the way forward. In today’s world, nobody wants a new office that comes with a huge carbon footprint attached – so energy-saving bulbs, eco-friendly materials, and recycled, natural materials are likely to be in order for 2023.
Open plan industrial-style interiors
Open plan design offers both versatility and productivity – and we’re expecting to see this more and more throughout 2023. When you have the option of zoom booths, open plan desks, breakout spaces, neurodiverse zones etc, why restrict employees to just one workspace?
The industrial style, and open space designs, blend well together to create a mix of spaces that will naturally encourage more potential for collaboration and communication between employees. Whether these spaces include iconic, eye-catching design elements such as exposed bricks and pipes, large and bright windows, a mix of wood and metal, and large ceiling lights, a well-selected combination can help create the ideal balance between function, wellbeing, and style.
Including nature with Biophilic Design
While biophilic design was once mainly concerned with plants, it’s likely that 2023 will see an increased focus on multi-sensory biophilic design – and this could include using natural light, sounds, and scents from the natural world that could help to improve office workers’ wellbeing.
A particular aspect that’s set to gain momentum is the use of circadian lighting – our natural circadian rhythm is key to our general wellbeing, and keeping this rhythm in check means we’re likely to feel and also perform better too. With that in mind, organisations seem more inclined to provide the best environment for their workers to thrive, and the correct lighting plays a big part in this.
It’s thought that people today spend about 90% of their time indoors, which has resulted in a need for a deeper connection with nature and natural elements. And this therefore impacts that way that lighting is used in office spaces – so we expect to see a demand for greater amounts of natural light, in addition to softer lighting, in place of windowless office cubicles under harsh and fluorescent lighting.
Flexibility and diversity
Similar to the trend of open plan offices with multiple workspaces, the idea of having flexibility and diversity incorporated into commercial design will continue to be popular throughout 2023. Renovating office spaces and including areas such as
- Collaborative areas
- Quiet working zones
- Brainstorming areas
- Social areas such as canteens
- Chill out zones
- Games rooms
- Video conferencing areas
and many more, will ultimately give employees the option of moving around their office spaces and choosing the best area to suit their needs. It certainly seems that creating an environment that evokes a sense of belonging among workers, and designing an office space that adapts to different work needs, is one that is more likely to increase positivity and productivity.
Technology and connectivity
And finally, whether you love it or loathe it, the office spaces of 2023 will need to be adapted and designed to meet and foster hybrid working. Much as we might try to forget it, the pandemic of 2020 forced workers across the globe to adapt to working from home and getting to grips with remote working technology, and we expect this to be reflected across workspaces in 2023.
Some offices are louder than others, and so it’s likely that we’ll see the likes of Teams/Zoom areas and phone booths being included in office refurbishments – areas with privacy and noise-cancelling features, and enhanced visual access, are likely to become more popular.