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Trends in Office Design

The goal of interior design in a work environment is to foster the productivity of employees and the profitability of the company. Today’s business owners are savvy and accepting of design trends that will attract new business and increase sales.

The most important factor in office interior design is that the appropriate image is projected for your company and, in turn, sets you apart from the competition in the eyes of your clients and the public. A trend that is being seen more often is the modern interior. Spaces with contemporary cutting-edge furnishings and finishes convey the image of a dynamic, forward-thinking company. This approach is as effective for a small real estate agency or hair salon as it is for software development or product manufacturing firms. We all want to know that we’re doing business with people who are keyed in to the hottest technology, methods and practices.

Many people steer clear of the sleek, modern interior for fear of cost.  However, a dynamic interior is in the attitude and does need to break the bank.   If stainless steel countertops are out of your price range, consider some of the great new laminates in a faux metallic finish.  Stained concrete floors can convey a similar mood to pricey tiles or hardwoods for a fraction of the cost.  And even an old traditional chair can be revitalized and reinterpreted with a great new fabric. You’re limited only by your own imagination and ingenuity.

Open office spaces have become quite the rage.  In an effort to break down the barriers and encourage open communication and interaction, companies are quite literally tearing down the walls that separate individual workspaces.  Employees maintain a semblance of privacy with visual separation sometimes provided by lower cubicle or glass walls. While this design option provides a great opportunity for team building and sharing of ideas, a private space must be provided somewhere within the office for confidential or sensitive conversations.

Companies are moving away from the conventional conference table and opting for lounge-style rooms with soft seating, incandescent lighting, great colors and all the technology bells and whistles required for audio/video needs.  Business owners have found that employees are more inspired and open to discussion in a comfortable, casual environment than they are in the formal, constrained conference environment

Providing soft seating groups anywhere within the office environment can be a great way for employees to get an ergonomic break from sitting at a desk all day.  A change in one’s environment during the day, even briefly, can often provide the stimulus needed to generate that great idea which has been suppressed by the confusion of phones, blackberries and in-boxes.

Color is the new white.  We now know that working in a stark white environment all day can cause eye fatigue, anxiety and irritability.  We also know that accent walls in a contrasting color are imperative in breaking up the visual monotony that can have a negative impact on employee productivity as well. Because of these and many more subconscious physical responses we have to color, selecting the appropriate palette can be tricky. I suggest consulting with a professional designer to ensure satisfactory results.

The real bottom line trend in office design is an awareness of the importance of the human factor in creating an environment that nurtures, promotes and stimulates.  A great interior should be designed to elicit a positive response from the people who interact within it.  Done correctly, that response translates into higher productivity, employees who are happier in their work, and customers who want to share in your success.