Each winter, OFDC Commercial Interiors makes predictions about trends in office furniture and design for the coming year.
In 2021, OFDC’s annual forecast covered five trending topics: mobile floorplans, employee clusters, video studios, outside gathering spots and home offices.
Much like last year, 2022 will also be defined by pandemic-inspired innovations. Some experts note “the office” might have permanently changed as companies shift to hybrid or work-from-home environments.
Below are five trends in office furniture and design that OFDC predicts will emerge in 2022:
Trend 1: Hot-desking
During the pandemic, employees requested flexibility and employers obliged. Most companies did not abandon the traditional office in favor of remote work because they still need a place to conduct business, meet clients and host team functions. Instead, businesses created a hybrid format that allows employees to work from both the office and home.
A business with 20 employees, for instance, does not need 20 desks because all 20 individuals will never be in the office at the same time. Instead, “hot-desking” allows that business to have 10 or 15 workstations. Employees do not have an assigned seat; they simply choose an available desk for the day. As companies shift to electronic records and billing, there is less need for personalized space to store “stuff.”
“Hot-desking” makes efficient use of spaces while keeping the office environment free of clutter. It also fosters collaboration with employees from other departments or teams.
Trend 2: Me and We Spaces
Many workplaces feature individual spaces in cubicles or enclosed offices, as well as group spaces like conference rooms and lounges.
Steelcase, an office furniture designing and manufacturing company, is touting the “Me + We” design concept. The notion is that employees want individual spaces to concentrate and focus on their tasks at hand. They also want open areas or lounges for collaboration and group discussions.
An office in 2022 needs to provide both types of spaces so employees can remain productive.
READ MORE: Office planning and design
Trend 3: Keep it Clean
Hygiene is critically important in avoiding viruses. That’s why customers flocked to retail stores in pursuit of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes during the pandemic. Cleanliness is the key to staying safe and healthy.
Desks, conference tables and chairs used by multiple people should be frequently cleaned. Hard surfaces like laminate, acrylic, glass, metal and plastic are easy to clean. As always, shared workspaces should be kept free of clutter.
Hospitals have long used antimicrobials to destroy or prevent the growth of microorganisms. Now, many businesses are seeing the value of spraying antimicrobial coatings to help protect employees.
READ MORE: Office furniture FAQs
Trend 4: Flooring
As noted above, cleanliness is a critical element in stopping the spread of any virus. That’s why hard flooring is becoming increasingly popular. Tile, wood, laminate and vinyl are incredibly easy to clean. In lieu of an old-fashioned string mop and bucket of water, several types of mops are effective on hard surfaces. These include flat, sponge and microfiber mops, as well as steamers.
Rather than lay flooring materials horizontally or vertically, interior designers are encouraging businesses to consider diagonal, stairstep, diamond, herringbone and parquet patterns. These trendy styles are not as uniform or symmetrical, which helps complete a distinctive, refined look.
READ MORE: The best time of the year to buy flooring
Trend 5: Office Chairs
The pandemic reinforced the need for an ergonomic workstation, especially an ergonomic-friendly office chair. Remote workers quickly recognized the importance of a comfortable, sturdy chair.
Businesses have long known about the return on investment, or ROI, of having a good chair. This includes higher productivity, work quality, morale and retention, as well as fewer legal and medical claims resulting from injury. As profitability increases, many companies are investing in capital expenditures in 2022. New office chairs are at the top of the list.
READ MORE: Businesses see ROI for ergonomics
Looking to stay ahead of the trends in office furniture this year? Complete our online Complimentary Consultation form to learn more.