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Office Design Ideas for 2022

We’ve put together some creative office design ideas that can be used to improve workspaces of all sizes and types. Whether you’re looking to improve your office, or moving offices and looking for design ideas, there’s something in here for everyone. We hope you find these ideas useful and inspiring.

Hybrid Workspaces

Without question, the biggest change in the last year is the shift towards hybrid working. ONS data shows that 85% of UK working individuals favored a balance of office and home working (the hybrid working model) compared to 52% enjoying the same balance in the United States. Empowering staff to proactively choose how and where they want to work is critical. Offices should be versatile spaces including quiet areas for concentration, creative spaces for collaboration, and relaxing spaces to unwind. These can have a positive impact on both productivity and staff wellbeing.

Hybrid Workspaces

Hybrid Workspaces

Eye-Catching Office Entrances

If studies on first impressions are any guide, you only have 27 seconds to make a good first impression. Additionally, 70% of people form their first impressions before any communication takes place. Office entrances (reception areas, lobbies, entryways, and corridors) are key elements in creating first impressions for a company brand. Think about the snap judgments formed by visitors, clients, prospective candidates, and new starters as they are exposed for the first time to your office reception area or lobby. Reception desks should be more than a cosmetic afterthought, they should be a design-led centerpiece that expresses the corporate identity.

Maximise Natural Light

With 80-90% of our days spent indoors, it may not be surprising that natural light is an important factor in planning office spaces. In fact, an HR poll of 1,614 employees, published in the Harvard Business Review, shows access to natural light is the number one attribute workers want in their office environment. Further studies have shown that increasing natural light can have a significant impact on everything from mood to creativity and concentration.

Natural light is an important consideration in office design ideas. Improving natural light can be achieved through effective space planning. For instance, creating open-plan workspaces optimizes natural light. Similarly, including glazed partitioning allows light to filter throughout the workplace.

 

Natural Light in the workplace

Improve Fresh Air and Natural Ventilation

The benefits of fresh air are numerous. 20% of the air we breathe is used by the brain; so having fresh air ultimately leads to clearer thinking, focus and concentration. Studies have also proven that oxygenated blood can significantly elevate brain serotonin synthesis. This in turn can elevate a sense of happiness and well-being in the workplace. In fact, a Harvard study of 7 US cities found that doubling the acceptable rate of ventilation in office buildings led to an 8% increase in employee productivity.

Fresh Air in the Workplace

In addition to the psychological advantage of fresh air, there are also physiological benefits. When working indoors breathing tends to be shallow (inhaling air into the top part of the lungs, or apical breathing). When you’re outdoors, moving around, either walking, jogging, or running, it encourages increased diaphragmatic breathing. This process of deep breathing not only helps you inhale more oxygen but also helps you exhale more toxins.

Breathing fresh air has other health benefits. Viruses and bacteria have a reduced survival rate when air is constantly circulating. Conversely, it thrives indoors where the air is warm and humid. Low-quality indoor air can lead to various ailments including headaches, fatigue, and sometimes chronic illness, such as allergies and respiratory illnesses.

Ventilation has also become particularly relevant in recent times with the spread of COVID-19 variants. It is now part of government guidance to encourage the circulation of air in closed spaces. When a person with COVID-19 breathes, coughs, or sneezes, they release particles (aerosols) containing viruses. In poorly ventilated office spaces these particles remain suspended in the air. As the particles gather, the chance of transmitting the virus increases. Letting fresh air into a confined office space significantly reduces the chance of airborne transmission.

Here’s a couple of ideas for designing your office to maximize fresh air:

  • Utilizing existing outdoor spaces: providing easy access to outdoor spaces is a must, whether it’s gardens, terraces, balconies, or rooftop areas.
  • Encourage Open-Air Team Meetings: provisioning outdoor spaces not just for lunch breaks but also work activities is another way to encourage more engagement and productivity while keeping employees happy and healthy.

We anticipate that in line with health guidance, 2022 will involve a lot more use of open-air furniture and offices being designed to make more use of their outdoor areas.

Optimise Office Space

Office space utilization has become increasingly important. All workplaces contain a number of “in-between spaces” or “dead spaces”. Think corridors, under stairs and other nooks and crannies that have not previously been utilized for any purpose. One of the most prevalent current office design ideas trends is the increasing use of these unconventional spaces which are transformed into functional work areas in the form of small huddle booths, informal meeting spaces or even private one-person pods.

   

As companies embrace a more flexible way of working, office design ideas have endeavored to be far more space-efficient. Giving serious consideration to how to optimize any space and thinking creatively about how to use otherwise dead space areas can be a thoroughly worthwhile task, and it can result in the inclusion of an array of new workspaces that allow staff to work effectively and in an increasingly agile manner.

Biophilic Office Space

How does the office benefit from bringing nature indoors? There is lots of anecdotal evidence of the good feelings that come from interacting with nature – our so-called “nature fix”. But what evidence is there for it? In an experiment, students at the University of Michigan were given a brief memory test, They were then divided into two groups and asked to take a walk. The first group walked through an arboretum and the 2nd group along a busy city street. When they returned, both groups wrote the test again. The group that walked in natural surroundings did 20% better than the group that walked along a busy city street.

Creating Soothing Biophilic Office Space with Living Walls

But it’s not only the effects on memory, plants can also impact our mood, lower our stress levels, as well as have various other health benefits. Another study showed that people spending just two hours a week with nature reported improved health and greater satisfaction than those that didn’t.

This principle of interacting with nature is being embedded into the office in the form of biophilic office design ideas. From the inclusion of plant life in various parts of the office to living walls and rooftop gardens. Plants have numerous benefits including the separation and zoning of office space, improvement in office aesthetics, and improvement in air quality.

Relaxing Breakout Areas

A breakout area is a space separate from the usual working area where employees can relax, eat, socialize, and have informal discussions and meetings. The modern workplace centers around staff and their experience interacting with the space. It’s not just about the physical workplace anymore but more about how the space makes staff feel and what it’s like to work there. A workplace is now a critical tool that can help to attract (and retain) the best and brightest talent, and consequently, companies are increasingly investing in creating workplaces where staff love working.

Break out area design is affected by an increasingly blurred line between work, home, and social life. This is particularly prominent in the post-pandemic workspace where employees are used to the comforts of home. Companies can benefit from making workspaces fun, relaxing spaces that ultimately attract the right talent that a business craves. And it’s not just about the actual office design. It’s a key element but smaller, simpler things are equally important – like access to a great cup of coffee, the ability to unwind over a game of pool or table tennis, or the technology and tools available to get work done most effectively. Today’s workplace is indeed all about offering a more holistic experience to staff and ultimately, office design is now all about designing that experience.

It’s also worth noting that as working styles become increasingly fluid and agile, the key trend has been all about providing staff with a space that is comfortable, makes them happy and healthier and allows them to be as creative and productive as possible.

Creating Quiet Spaces

With all the benefits of open plan offices, there are also challenges. Studies have shown that over 50% of people have difficulty concentrating in open plan offices, with an estimated 15% decrease in productivity due to lack of concentration. A popular solution for the noise created in open plan offices is acoustic pods and booths. They allow for one-on-one meetings and team meetings, while also providing ‘quiet zones’ for creativity and relaxation. Unlike the traditional use of cubicles and glass room dividers, small meeting pods and booths don’t require planning permission. Pods come in different shapes and sizes to suit different purposes. From two-person meeting pods to hybrid pods fitted with video conferencing, there’s a range to suit all formats. Ultimately, they achieve a happier and more productive workforce in a space with less rigid divisions.

A quiet space for focused work

Reducing Office Partitioning

Traditional walled partitions are becoming less popular and alternatively, office designers are now using alternative materials to create dividers to define spaces. Examples include nature-inspired bamboo walls with shrubbery, metal display cabinets and acoustic panels, and crate shelving with plants.

Offices are removal walls hard divisions to provide staff with open spaces to work and as a subtle means to promote a culture of openness and transparency. Enclosed meeting rooms and cubicle walls are out in favor of open, collaborative, and social spaces that are defined not by walls, but by a mix of divider units, wooden slats, carpet variances and colour.

 

Plant Wall and Timber screen provide spatial zones

More Flexible Spaces

Another consequence of the rise in remote working over the last couple of years is that workers have become accustomed to moving around while they work and taking more breaks from their desks. This is something employers will be looking to incorporate into their workplaces in 2022.

Introducing non-bookable agile areas, bookable open-plan spaces and task-focused work zones will give your teams more choice and help them to thrive. By accommodating different working styles, then with all things being equal, you’ll have more efficient, more engaged and more productive employees.

Is your Office ready for 2022?

With these factors combined, your office design ideas can be both aesthetically stunning and incredibly practical.

Offices in 2022 will be homely, prioritize flexibility and be able to adapt to different headcounts and working styles. Now you know what you can expect, it’s time to get your office in shape. No matter where you are in the office design process, Urban Spaces builds spaces where employees thrive. We’re a team of passionate specialists, committed to providing exceptional working environments that meet both commercial and employee needs, boost productivity, attract the best talent, and improve communication within teams. Talk to us today.