Office Design

Office Design Trends 2020: A New Era of Furnishing

employees in a 2020 office design

There’s something about 2020 we can’t quite put our finger on.

Maybe it’s the ear-pleasing rhyme, rhythm, and repetition when we say it aloud. Maybe it’s the number’s gratifying roundness.

But thinking about 2020 elicits a strange yet powerful feeling of progress; like this is a new era, the year big things are going to happen. And between the upcoming Olympics, Mars rover launch, and presidential election, it certainly is.

One thing is for sure –

It’s going to be a very big year for American office design too.


The modern office design trends of 2020

If there’s one thing we can be sure of in terms of the top office design trends of the last few years, it’s that Americans are not happy with the way you currently furnish.

So why continue to ignore them?

Countless research in organization behaviour and furnishing has proved that the downfalls of current office interior design trends far outweigh the advantages.

  • Open offices are not as collaborative as you thought.
  • Standing desks are bad for the back and feet.
  • Height-adjustable chairs are not ergonomic on their own.

Fret not.

Below, we’ll discuss the new design trends of 2020 in office space planning and furniture so you have a better idea of the kind of workplace your business needs now. 

Let’s dive right into it.


1. The cubicles are back, but better than before

Did you know that the open office concept pre-dates the cubicle idea? 

Unfortunately, companies took Robert Propst’s idea of the cubicle to the extreme. Walls and screens were supposed to minimize distractions, but to boost cost-saving and space efficiency, companies shrunk what should have been a productive and comfortable design into a cramped, rigid, anti-social box. 

Then, when businesses (re)adopted the open office design ‘trend’ in the workplace, we actually went backward, and not in a hip, reinvented retro kind of way. We returned to the extreme ‘no walls, no privacy’ design.

Now, the idea of bringing back the cubicle paints a notorious picture of dread; of a sea of mundane grayness, economic uncertainty, and lack of social interaction. 

That is why 2020 is the year we’re reimagining it.

Businesses are exploring the idea of the ‘privacy pod’ – a name that sounds futuristic, and that very well might be. Unlike the soulless image of cubicles we’re familiar with, these new and improved privacy pods are designed to block distractions and offer your employees sound-proof and distraction-free comfort to focus on their work. 

Know that they’re not about to replace the open workstations. They’re to be used alongside them, so your employees can shift between areas that are separately designed for separate kinds of work. 

Adopt this design trend: Install a reasonable number of privacy pods in your open office. This will give your employees a much-desired option to retreat into a safe, quiet place away from prying eyes, noise and interruptions. 

If space is an issue, consider repurposing small meeting rooms that aren’t in use a lot into ‘quiet spaces’ or ‘still zones’, fully outfitted for deep workflow while offering comfort. (You could encourage your employees to take meetings outside in the fresh air instead.)


2. The desks move, so your employees will

It’s common knowledge now that sitting for hours and hours is as bad as smoking.  As human beings, your employees need to be physically active to be both healthy and productive.

And so, both sitting and standing desks are set to be replaced by the height-adjustable desk

When it comes it seating, it wasn’t enough that your fancy ergonomic chair could move. Because, your body’s ideal seating requires it to be aligned with the floor, and the table. Now that the table can move too, your employees can customize their entire workstation to suit them. 

The standing desk received a lot of backlash. While it’s definitely healthier than sitting, it causes tons of issues for the feet and back. Plus, employees didn’t like moving all their belongings from their workstation to a standing desk and back, every time they wanted to use one. 

With a height adjustable desk, they won’t have to. All their stuff can remain on the same workspace each time they opt to alternate between standing and sitting. 

And that’s why, height-adjustable desks are set to become the default workspace in 2020.

Adopt this design trend: Simply replace the desks you currently offer with height-adjustable ones. If you’re worried about the cost, know that enough research shows the direct benefits of better health on employee productivity. So, it’s worth the investment. You could always rent-to-own height-adjustable desks if you’re not fully convinced yet.


3. Flex spaces now offer more balance and productivity

To continue our point about enabling your employees to choose how they work, entire workplaces are adapting beyond the desk to offer greater freedom and flexibility. 

And 2020 is the year we perfect the flexible office design.

A flexible office design in 2020 creatively combines the changing needs of different individuals as they work over time. This means that your office must provide your employees the flexibility to choose how and where they work for you at different points of time.

Traditionalists (pre-2020 employers) might find this design inefficient, unpredictive, and costly. 

But take a moment to ponder this –  tons of large companies are installing work-life balance and flexibility enhancers like napping stations, health bars, and fully-outfitted recharge rooms, while encouraging more work-from-home and hot desking cultures. 

And the reason this works is because new, ground-breaking research shows that your employees are not robots. They don’t all work the same way consistently every day.

They’re individuals who work differently.

The same person who thrives in the social buzz of an open workplace in the morning, might like to nap after lunch, and then retreat to a quiet space with lounge-like furniture for focused workflow after.

Adopt this design trend: Here is a quick guide to doing this. Simply put, create different zones with furniture that adapt to different moods:

  • Design your open plan workstations and meeting rooms for collaboration success.
  • Install privacy pods and quiet spaces for focused work. 
  • Furnish a gorgeous lounge for quality recharge with luxury and tech-enabled furniture (think wireless charging-enabled tabletops). 
  • And create more spaces that enable better work-life balance like gyms, healthy cafeterias (or fully-stocked kitchens), meditation rooms, etc.

In terms of the more cultural aspects of your office design, promote more work-from-home and hot desking activities so your employees can be productive wherever they feel like it. 

In a digital age like the 2020s, where all work and collaboration can happen productively with a portable laptop, a combination of these two cultures will allow your employees to optimize their workspaces for the best results. 


4. The furniture is bolder than ever

The old monotonous picture of office furniture is bidding farewell as 2020’s office design will now showcase more color and personality. 

Before, companies focused simply on function – a chair to sit on, a desk to work at. But employees of today respond better to office design that surprises, inspires, and makes coming to work more interesting, every day.

This means we’re going to see more colors, more shapes, and more decor in the office, particularly bright, bold tones, and polygonal patterns.

The studies on this design trend show that when done well, the combination of bolder styles of furniture help maintain higher levels of focus and interest by curbing feelings of boredom and fatigue. 

Adopt this trend: Replace neutral, tepid furniture with more playful tones and accent pieces. We recommend exploring different fabrics and combining designs too.

We also recommend moving closer to eco-friendly materials and nature-inspired decor like solid wood tables, cotton fabric seating, and greenery.

Remember to not go overboard though. If improperly done, too much color could add to visual noise in the workplace and be distracting. You’re always welcome to ask an office furniture expert for a free space plan if you need some guidance.


5. Going green has proved to be profitable

Another trend we’re about to see go big in 2020 is sustainable and biophilic office design. Employees of today long for greenery in the workplace that goes beyond the odd desk plant.

Perhaps, if you’re on a tight budget, a lush planter or succulent might do. Otherwise, adding more life to your office (like a vertical garden) is certain to breathe more life into your employees’ morale and productivity. 

But biophilic office design in 2020 goes beyond just planting more green. It’s all about incorporating natural elements that humans have always had an affinity with since the beginning of time. 

This means that furniture made of natural materials, sunlit workplaces, and an overall sustainable philosophy can really lift your employees’ spirits. The state of Earth’s climate has reached a ridiculous low. Let 2020 be the year your company makes the change for the better. 

Adopt this design trend: What you can do to be more eco-friendly:

  • Work with biophilic office experts to add some gorgeous, cooling, and productivity-boosting greenery to your office. 
  • Adopt energy-cutting practices if your office guzzles a lot of power. You could install motion-activated light switches as a start. Or switch your energy source to renewable energy (like solar).
  • Optimize office waste by replacing paper towels with reusable microfiber cloths, labelling different trash cans ‘recyclable’ and ‘compost’, and exploring rainwater harvesting. 
  • Practice more eco-friendly behaviors like minimizing paper, using biodegradable (or reusable) cutlery, and unplugging power sources when not in use.
  • Economize your office furniture by renting them whenever you need to, and returning them when you don’t, so you can avoid sending them to landfills prematurely.

There are tons of ideas you can find and adopt; some may be large one-time expenses, while others are free. But every one of them will help both you and your employees feel inspired and amazing about working at your company.


6. Office furniture rental is in

Furniture rental used to be associated with low-quality, second-hand products, good for a short-term furnishing quick fix, and bad for long-term value.

But that’s changed now.

Companies of all sizes find high value in renting furniture both short- and long-term because of the asset-light trend that’s taking over the business world. Brands you admire have stopped purchasing assets, whether they’re cabs, machinery, or brick-and-mortar stores and opt to lease instead. 

Why? Because it’s the digital age now and business models are adapting.

The old model required high initial capital at the risk of low revenue later, but going asset-light brings that initial requirement down, allowing businesses to scale as they grow and using assets like a service instead of a dead/depreciating purchase. 

That’s why one of 2020’s office design trends is the shift to leasing furniture during the furnishing process. Renting office furniture minimizes expense and risk, and boosts efficiency and convenience.

Adopt this design trend: Look for an office furniture company that provides top-of-the-line furniture for rent. This is where we come in.

At BureauOne, we’ve helped countless companies, big and small, make the shift to a sophisticated rental experience that goes beyond just offering furniture as a service. With BureauOne, you can:

  • Access high-end products from manufacturers you like.
  • Get your furniture delivered and installed a lot quicker.
  • Scale easily as your company grows.
  • Receive regular maintenance and damage protection.
  • Enjoy tailored white-glove service the entire time.

We’re always ready to help. Discover the BureauOne office furniture rental experience and get a leg up on your competition by choosing to adopt the office design trends of 2020 today. 

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