As the nature of office work changes, so too do office furniture and design trends. Moreover, as technology, office furniture, and office spaces catch up to the way we work, the landscape of corporate Australia develops new features and benefits. Read on for the 6 Office Trends You Need to Know About in 2019.
1. The Office Furniture Market is Booming
With the global furniture market witnessing major transition in terms of technological advancements, product feature enhancements, and the use of raw materials, the demand for contract furniture has increased significantly in the recent years.
Market Research Updates
The term office furniture refers to a wide range of products, including chairs, desks, workstations, screens, presentation boards, tables, storage and more. Office furniture differs from home or other furniture in several ways, largely due to being designed with the office worker and corporate space in mind, particularly with products like the popular stand-up desk, multi-person workstations and large flip boards. Other differences include:
- Adjustable features for the modern workplace that incorporates hot-desking
- Ergonomic design for employee comfort and health
- Task specific aspects, especially for particular industries
- Multi-person capabilities to save space
- General features for office collaboration
According to many recent reports (see reference list to read more), the growth in the service industry is leading to a boost in the office furniture market globally. This means:
- A larger and a greater number of pieces are required for corporate spaces
- There is growing focus on employee wellness and comfort, as well as ergonomic furniture and accessories
- Companies are looking for long-lasting furniture pieces to save money and encourage employee engagement
Market Research Updates lists tables and chairs, office furniture and kitchen furniture as some of the most important types, all types that Jason L incorporates into their extensive range (view our office furniture range here). Watch this space: a 5% growth is expected between 2018 and 2024.
2. Our Office Furniture Bonds Us
There are many different opinions about the best way to furnish an office, particularly as the modern office shifts and changes to adapt to the new ways we’re learning to work efficiently. These include questions around:
- Stand-up versus traditional desks
- Open-plan workspaces versus a more traditional set up
- Ergonomic chairs versus cheaper options
- Multi-person workstations versus individual desks
Moreover, ideas around how the office workstation functions in a workspace are being thrown into question, with Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby stating:
The desk is a place that you're invisibly chained to, where you're producing widgets for the man...It's a remnant of the industrial revolution...You don't need to spend 20 grand a year to have a desk that has a photo of your dog on it anymore, but at the same time people still need to come together and have moments of interaction.
For many people, however, office furniture still forms the base on which they do their work, so it’s unlikely the office desk will go anywhere anytime soon (not to mention the countless benefits a well designed workstation has). What it does mean, however, is that we’re likely to see a rise in collaborative furniture, pieces that encourage team engagement, brainstorm sessions and creative meetings.
In addition, technology in the workplace has meant more employees are choosing to work remotely, so these collaborative spaces with built-in technology are becoming more popular by the day.
3. We're Enhancing Productivity Through Design
It’s clear many companies are making the move to open plan and flexible workspaces, as a cost-saving and space-saving measure, and perhaps even as a way to put an ideology of innovation and collaboration into real world terms. Not everyone has been on board with this move however, and many employees have made their feelings - that they have less space less privacy and less consistency - very clear.
Another shift in the way offices are designed and furnished has been as a result of taking these ideas one step further, and creating spaces that enhance productivity by design and interior. This may include:
- Partition screens to allow an open-plan design with the benefit of privacy
- Whiteboards and presentation boards
- Office furniture with tech capabilities
- Furniture with wheels or the ability to be easily moved
4. The Home Office is Here to Stay
As we’ve already established, home offices are becoming more common as increased numbers of people are taking up remote working options. When Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo, she famously banned all working from home arrangements, and although she eventually softened this stance, it clearly displayed a lack of trust in this kind of arrangement, if not in the employees themselves. Today, remote work arrangements are often seen as alluring to potential employees, and enables companies to draw on the international workforce that can be cheaper and more efficient than their local counterparts.
If you haven’t already, it might be time to consider a more flexible arrangement for your staff.
5. Your Workstation May be Hurting You
Even with all of the affordable ergonomic office furniture options out there, your office workstation may still be hurting you. This could be because:
- Many people have not seen the value on ergonomic furniture and continue to use outdated and poorly made chairs, desks and workstations
- The right office furniture was not purchase in the first place, making it the wrong fit those using it
- The ergonomic furniture is not being used correctly. This may be through the wrong adjustments being made or an incorrect set up
Another key factor is the sedentary nature of office work, which can lead to numerous health issues and injuries. This is perhaps more true of home offices, which have not been set up under the guidance of a trained office health and wellness professional. Other possible work related injuries include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Eye strain
- Back and neck pain
- Postural issues
6. You Might Be Misusing Your Desk
While standing desks have proven health benefits, some believe standing for too long can also have negative impacts on health.
“Standing idly can cause problems, mostly vascular,” says Dr. Andrew Elkwood, MD, founder and director of the Center for Treatment of Paralysis and Reconstructive Nerve Surgery at Jersey Shore Medical Center. “Standing all day puts a lot of pressure on your legs which can cause swelling, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.” Read more here.
A standing desk is still the best option for office workers, but should be used to enable both sitting and standing as needed. When it’s time to stretch and you feel the effects of a prolonged period of sitting, it’s time to stand up. Similarly, if stiff legs or discomfort start to creep in after standing for several hours, switch to a seated position. Most importantly, when trying a new system or way of working, start small and build a habit from there.
As you work through 2019 be aware of these changes, updates and developments, but primarily continue to work in a way that best suits the way you and your team work. Your comfort, health and productivity are essential to corporate success.
The Growing Service Industry is Expected to Boost the Global Office Furniture Market in the near Future
Market Industry Reports
Global Office Chairs Market Report 2019 – Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, HNI Group, Okamura Corporation, Kimball Office, AURORA, TopStar, Bristol
Tremendous growth report on Contract Furniture and Furnishing Market 2019-2025 with Major Key Players Herman Miller, Kinnarps, Knoll, Steelcase, Haworth
Market Research Updates
Collective collaboration key to robust office furniture economy
Office of the future "will only be a place where people come together" say Barber and Osgerby
This clever office furniture helps you hack your open plan office hell
Proof That Working From Home Is Here To Stay: Even Yahoo Still Does It
Your desk job wreaks havoc on your body, here's how to fix it
The best way to use a standing desk — and what to buy to maximize the benefits