Business has never moved as fast as it does now. Dramatic developments in communications, IT, production, transport and management capabilities have all ramped up at a never-seen-before rate.
The impact on the modern office environment has been nothing short of extraordinary. Office spaces have an entirely different look to those of 20 years ago. And the people working within them perform their duties in uniquely alternative ways.
Trends for 2019 will focus on three core areas. They are:
- Technology drives a need to change the way people use their workstations.
The trends in this area are huge and potentially push efficiency and health benefits.
- Eye-appeal. We are all design literate. We understand what looks good, which colours are on trend
and what styling is most appealing. That translates into some big shifts in preferences when selecting
an office interiors product.
- Space efficiency. Real estate has never been more expensive. The pressure is on to use office spaces effectively. Creating new areas to enable us to work in a different, more creative way. Maximising space is top priority.
The growing trend towards more functional working is deeply impactful. Offices now recognise the power of buying superior seating solutions that deliver not only greater comfort to users, but more benefits for the company making the purchase. Achieving greater efficiency with more productivity from employees using a well specified chair.
High function chairs with multiple adjustments and movement options have been proven to deliver more than 20% greater efficiency from users. They also tend to last longer, giving those investing in quality a better long-term return.
Speciality chairs are assuming a new prominence. Bariatric (heavy-duty) chairs for heavier users have become a health and safety essential. Specifying 24/7 chairs when the same seating is used by several people on multiple shifts is becoming a preferred choice at busy workstations to ensure comfort and productivity. British buyers now understand that if you buy a super cheap operator chair, the likelihood is that it will be less comfortable and will need replacing within a year. The phase ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ has never been more relevant.
Ergonomic shapes in desking will increase in popularity. The biggest game changer though is the Sit Stand desking boom. Various claims are being made (some overstated) but what is certain is that the ability to change your position from a standard sitting to standing (and possible a perch in-between stance) increases blood flow and muscle tone. As a result, efficiency, comfort, creativity and general health is enhanced. A huge dividend for businesses concerned with staff wellbeing.
Chairs with pleasing lines, multiple shapes, stylish upholstery and attractive materials are far more part of the decision-making process than before, underlining the intrinsic awareness of good design we all have.
A major shift in buying has been the move away from standard fabric options (previously black, blue and charcoals) to alternative shades. Purples top the trending league table for 2019 with bright reds and yellows following close behind. Different shades of chair upholstery are used not only for personal preference but to define areas within an office such as marketing, sales and finance.
Finally, space efficiency has a valid role in the changing trends of office interiors. Expensive space means smaller footprints for desking. The 1600mm wide desk has been the universal favourite for decades. But now buyers are seeing that technology brings a paperless working environment, meaning desks can be reduced to 1400mm or even 1200mm wide.
A recent significant change to working habits sees an increasingly large number of tasks carried out away from
a desk. The old formal meeting room is being replaced by informal break out seating spaces in the workplace, often delineated by freestanding screens for privacy and with soft seating units to encourage a greater team working atmosphere.
There is no doubt fashion, comfort, practicality and the challenge to get more performance from less space are driving office interiors to new solutions. The results are changing office environments that deliver colossal health and efficiency dividends.