Southwest Florida businesses are changing the look and feel of their offices. They want to create functional, productive workplaces that also offer safety and comfort for employees, customers and clients.
COVID-19 changed the office environment in 2020. As 2021 begins, OFDC Commercial Interiors notes five trends in office design and furniture that are redefining the office:
Open floorplans have been trendy since the early 2000s as businesses sought to foster collaboration, creativity and teamwork. Across Southwest Florida, offices built or remodeled in the past two decades feature open and semi-open floorplans. Now, health officials warn that shared spaces also foster the spread of germs, viruses and bacteria.
Mobile floorplans are increasing in popularity. Rather than pursue a costly renovation, businesses are investing in mobile office furniture. Manufacturers have rolled out new work desks, chairs and conference tables on wheels. That allows employees to reconfigure interior spaces within a matter of minutes, and with little effort. Movable partitions can create defined spaces without having to pull building permits and erect new walls.
In early 2020, state governments prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people to thwart the spread of COVID-19. However, it’s not uncommon to find businesses with 20, 30 or more employees working inside one office.
Consider employee pods or clusters within an office. Accounting, for instance, could be grouped together in an office-within-an-office. This would limit interactions with employees outside of their “immediate work family.” Position desks so individuals are back-to-back rather than facing each other. Desks also can face toward walls rather than open, central spaces.
OFDC’s design consultants provide reconfiguration services for businesses seeking a safer, yet functional, office design.
Business meetings often are virtual rather than face-to-face. That renders board rooms obsolete. Instead, companies can repurpose that space as a video conferencing studio. Businesses should consider these three elements when developing a video studio:
Background: Create a set. Purchase a bookcase and fill it with periodicals and products relevant to the business. Well-designed backgrounds can subliminally promote the brand and an employee’s expertise.
Lighting: Natural light offers the best lighting source for video conferencing. Portable, adjustable LED lights can provide soft, warm and even lighting that allows employees to radiate on camera.
Technology: Invest in high-speed Internet, an HD camera, noise-cancelling microphone and external speakers. Quality video and sound make for a smooth virtual meeting.
Outside gathering spots
Employees have always enjoyed gathering around the water cooler for conversations with colleagues. However, the CDC is still advising to avoid crowds. Southwest Florida businesses can easily take the water cooler chats outside. Add tables and chairs in courtyards and shaded green spaces. That will keep the conversation flowing in a safe, outdoor environment.
A majority of businesses that shifted to remote work in 2020 have since brought workers back to the office. However, employees who typically work all day, every day, in the office may still spend more time working at home.
Companies are hyper-vigilant in telling employees to stay home if they show any signs of a fever, cough or runny rose. In the past, employees might have toughed it out at the office. Now, they’ll feel more comfortable working in a home office. COVID-19 proved that virtual employees can be just as productive.
See our Home Office Guide for tips to set up a comfortable, productive home office.
Looking for trend-setting design and furniture for your office? Call OFDC Commercial Interiors today at 239-347-4876 or complete our Online Request Form.