2018 already feels like a faded memory - especially to those who had a messy New Year's Eve - and 2019 is full of possibilities, hope and change. Perhaps you’re starting a new role or looking to make a fresh start in an old one, or are simply finding ways to innovate and breath new life into your office space.
It isn’t just factors like employee satisfaction that should play a role in your 2019 planning, however. To really thrive in 2019, it’s essential to consider employee health, office design, safety and comfort, new technology and how to get the most out of your office space. At Jason L, we work hard to provide our customers with the latest in ergonomic furniture, accessories and design solutions for any office, no matter the size, scale or company. Read on to discover the top 10 trends on 2019.
1. Experience-driven Spaces
According to wurkspace7;
Experience-driven spaces refer to the incorporation of characteristics in the design of a workplace that orbits the user-centric elements of space optimisation; ultimately emphasising the importance of employee experience at work.
In 2019, expect to see a rise in this type of working environment, where the space is redesigned to enable maximum employee engagement both on and off the clock.
These may include:
- Games rooms, or spaces that include items like table tennis tables
- Yoga spaces: check out these yoga poses to get you through the day
- Immersive spaces
- V.R. rooms
- Sleeping pods and relaxation rooms
- Massage rooms
- Cafes and breakout rooms
- Office libraries, like the ones K2 Space predicts
Other features of experience-driven spaces include music, textured walls, and spaces that stir the senses.
2. Eco Workplaces
The eco-workplace is the workplace that is conscious about its environmental impact, that considers the impact of its footprint, and encourages, enables and empowers employees to be environmentally friendly. But really, what does that mean? How can you incorporate best practices into your daily workplace routines? You could:
- Make recycling easy, by providing bins and discouraging single use plastic
- Go paperless and implement a digital filing system (read more on how to go paperless at eFileCabinet)
- Consider solar panels for the office
- Set up bike racks to encourage riding to work
- Set up a car pool club to encourage employees driving to work together, which has the added bonus of facilitating team bonding
- Maximise natural light and cut back on artificial lights where possible
- Encourage employees to turn off their computers, devices and lights when not in use
3. Open Plan Offices
The rise of the start-up and the unconventional workplace has made clear that open workplaces, hot-desking and agile spaces are not going away any time soon. Particularly for smaller companies with minimal space available, open plan offices provide an opportunity to fit in more people, get the most out of a room and enable team work. Open plan offices also:
- Encourage collaboration
- Enable flexibility
- Can be a clever way to take advantage of space
- Give employees the opportunity to work with other teams and get to know how various departments outside of their own operate
Open plan offices do have challenges however, such as a possible increase in digital, as opposed to face-to-face, interactions (read more here). In order to combat these, consider:
- Investing in noise cancelling headphones
- Creating small barriers to decrease noise and increase privacy
- Book meeting rooms for sensitive conversations or when you need to focus in a quiet space
- Take breaks outside of the office: read more on how to take intentional breaks at work at the Better Humans website.
According to ewiworks, open office spaces are becoming too bright with LED lighting systems, and though they may be better for the environment and the bottom line,
"Without partitions and closed-off spaces, workers become exposed to much more light in open office spaces. Additionally, newly designed work spaces often maximize their exposure to natural light. This, combined with overhead LED fixtures, can cause very excessive light levels."
Find out how EWI Works can help your company here.
Read more about how to make the most of an open-plan office, and don't forget to finish off the area with some high-quality, ergonomic chairs:
4. Bringing Nature into the Office
Bringing nature indoors is a trend that has been a long time coming, as companies have started to expect longer hours from employees, and many of us find ourselves spending the majority of our time at a computer, whether for work or pleasure. Undoubtedly, there is no substitute for the experience of spending time in nature and breathing in fresh air, but bringing greenery, plants, and a little bit of nature indoors is an wonderful alternative.
Decorating the office with plants:
- Is an easy way to add colour to an otherwise dull space
- Can reduce stress in the office
- Brings a taste of the natural world into the sometimes oppressive office space
- Can remove pollutants from the air
Our favourite trends are:
- Moss walls, 'the perfect green wall alternative' according to Ambius
- Small indoor plants
- Jade plants
- Peace lilies
- Any kind of biophilic design
Here are a few of our popular plants to get you started:
5. Getting the Most Out of Limited Spaces
Large office spaces, like rental properties, are a luxury desired by many but attained by few. As such, getting the most out of limited spaces has become a project that was perhaps born out of necessity, but has grown into a one of efficiency, style and design.
Setting up an office in a small area can seem like a daunting task, but with a few key stylistic choices, strategically positioned pieces and a willingness to embrace a new way of working, can end up leading to a better office.
When working with limited space, consider:
- De-cluttering all areas
- Styling your office with a minimalist theme
- Using vertical space: find inspiration at Apartment Therapy
- Thinking twice when selecting accessories, furniture and decorations
Our favourite design trends are:
- Sit-stand workstations
- Curtains and flexible room dividers
- Multi-person desks
- Flexible, multi-purpose spaces (read more on Office Space)
- Movable cafe furniture
When redecorating your office space, why not invest in some high-quality, ergonomic furniture, too?
6. Wellness and Employee Health
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs an average company $4,129 per hire, with 42 days being the time it takes to fill a position. As such, keeping your employees happy, healthy and productive is in your best interest.
Eating clean, fasting, practicing meditation, taking micro-naps: all of these seem to fall into the category of ‘wellness’, but what exactly does the term mean in an office context?
Global Wellness Day defines wellness as:
...an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare.
Broadly speaking, corporate wellness is all about focusing on employee physical, mental and emotional health, and ensuring office culture is such that it allows employees to thrive and achieve their best.
Committing to corporate wellness may include:
- Purchasing ergonomic furniture
- Offering healthy eating initiatives such as fruit boxes
- Initiating employee exercise programs such as lunch time yoga
- Running group stretches during working hours
- Creating mental health plans and offering psychological resources to staff
7. Stand Up Desks
If you haven’t heard of stand up desks, you’ve been living (no doubt, sitting) under a rock. No longer a quirky fad, stand up desks are here to stay, and for good reason. Studies have shown that sitting for two hours is as harmful to health as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial. Sitting for prolonged periods of time also:
- Increases the risk of illness and disease (read more at Uncaged Ergonomics)
- Can lead to back, neck and other stiffness and pain
- May lead to weight gain
Jason L offers multiple stand up and traditional workstation options, from executive settings to multi-user pieces to affordable pop-top options.
8. Honesty and Transparency
There aren’t many people who would claim not to value honesty and transparency, yet they have remained scarce in many workplaces for some years. Think of how many problems could’ve been more quickly resolved, how many passive aggressive comments could’ve been avoided, and how much better if would’ve felt to know exactly where you stand with your boss.
In 2019, honesty and transparency will make a long-awaited comeback, with H.R. departments, executive teams and companies making a concerted effort to have more straightforward and productive interactions with staff. With any luck, this will extend to interactions with customers and clients, too. Read more on the importance of honesty at Influencive.
9. Flexible Working Hours
While there are some jobs, such as nursing and those within the hospitality industry, that require certain start and finish times, for many others the rigidity of the nine to five day is simply outdated. Rather than encouraging employees to work efficiently, enjoy a healthy work/life balance and work in a way that suits their productivity, nine to five locks them in, encouraging them to fill out the day and work at a suboptimal pace.
Flexible working hours can mean many things, but primarily refers to enabling staff to work at times that suit them, within certain parameters and depending on the time of year. It might mean starting work at eight and leaving at four, or could mean working afternoons at home. As processes become more advanced and streamlined, flexibility at work will become a key part of employee satisfaction. Read more about working with a flexible schedule here.
10. Smart Furniture and Accessories
The large majority of workplaces now rely heavily on technology, whether it be industry-changing machinery or simply the prevalence of online bookings. As technology changes, so too do the ways in which we work, interact with clients and run businesses.
Smart furniture is the merging of furniture with technology, and has been described as the future of furniture. Some roles, positions, companies and industries have grown to rely on smart technology to function efficiently, while others haven’t had the need to explore these alternatives. As our technology advances, these smart furniture and accessories will become more mainstream, just as the technology we take for granted today was once obscure.
In 2019, expect to see the rise of:
- Desks with charging stations
- Cafe furniture with built-in speakers
- Multi-media tables
- Advanced speakers
- Gesture controlled chairs
- The rise of products such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa
- Charing stations
- Wemo light switches
- Smart power strips
- Security devices
Read more on how to get your employees to embrace workplace technology at Digital Pulse.
Time to Get Started!
As you settle in to the new year and any potential new roles, keep these trends in mind. By making the effort to be healthy, work smarter, get things done and become more efficient, you’ll be able to make 2019 the best year yet. From all of us here at Jason L, we wish you a fantastic year!
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