After working from home for the past two years, many employees are gradually starting to return to the office. Regardless of divided feelings about this transition, it has emerged as one of the driving forces behind this year’s office interior design trends, as companies in numerous industries strive to make their offices places where their teams can work safely, comfortably, and productively.
Here are five of the top office interior design trends in 2022 that builders and designers should be aware of:
#1: Home-like workspaces
Many companies are helping employees navigate the transition back to the office by incorporating some of the comforts of home into their workspace design. These may include couches adorned with throw pillows and other comfortable seating, soft lighting, artwork on display, and wood flooring in certain areas. While carpet and tile have traditionally been more popular choices for flooring in corporate offices, adding some hardwood or engineered wood—which consists of layers of real wood veneers and is generally more affordable than solid hardwood—can bring warmth and a homey vibe to a space.
#2: Flexible work areas
In the post-pandemic office, “cubicle farms” and other cramped workspaces are obsolete. On the other hand, employees may be craving a bit more privacy and seclusion than would be found in the fully open concept offices that had become popular in the years preceding the pandemic. Instead, some companies are now developing flexible work areas, which may include common spaces where teams can collaborate, as well as more private spots where employees can work on their own. For instance, companies may install enclosed “pods” that have seating, outlets, and a work surface where employees who either wish to social distance themselves from others or who simply need a quiet place to concentrate can work comfortably and productively.
#3: Incorporation of natural elements
In the past several years, many homeowners have sought ways to bring nature into their homes. Now, this trend has reached corporate offices, which are increasingly featuring various elements of the natural world outside. These may include the following:
- Living walls. Based on the idea that our modern lifestyle has deprived us of our essential connection to nature, living walls offer a way to bring nature into the office with an eye-catching wall of plant life. For companies that don’t want to invest in an entire wall, simply adding a variety of real, easy-to-care-for plants throughout the office can unleash several benefits, including enhanced productivity and creativity, reduced stress and anxiety, and greater well-being overall. As an added benefit, plants can help naturally clean the air in the office—which is particularly important in the wake of the pandemic.
- Natural light. Employees have long complained about the harsh natural lighting that has traditionally been found in office environments. Now, many companies are responding by trying to let as much natural light into the office as possible. While this can be challenging in offices that lack large or plentiful windows, there are various steps that can be taken in order to maximize the natural light that is available. For instance, choosing furniture that has clean, minimalistic lines can help the light from windows reach more space, while adding reflective surfaces—such as mirrors and light-colored countertops with glossy finishes—can diffuse natural light throughout an area. Companies should also be sure to install window treatments that make it easy to let in light, but also close it out when necessary to reduce heat or glare.
#4: Focus on health and safety
Even as life largely returns to normal, most people have a heightened awareness of health and safety after the pandemic. Companies are striving to respect this by implementing various measures to help employees feel safe, ranging from the installation of hand sanitizing stations to restricting capacity in meeting rooms to allow for some social distancing. Another option is to install surfaces, such as natural stone countertops, that are easy to clean and sanitize.
#5: A combination of light/neutral and vibrant colors
In 2021, Pantone—which is considered an authority in the design industry for identifying the trendiest colors—chose two colors of the year: a neutral gray and a vibrant yellow. Homeowners and corporations alike are now working these shades or similar combinations into their interior designs. In the office environment, companies might consider installing light-colored tile or engineered wood flooring, and bringing in pops of color through vibrantly hued accent walls or furniture. Another great option for incorporating different colors is resilient flooring, which offers a vast range of design possibilities and can even be adorned with the company’s logo. Resilient flooring has become popular for its impressive durability and low maintenance needs.
As many companies continue to bring all or some of their employees back to the office, incorporating design trends that create comfortable, appealing workspaces will help to ease the transition. With over four decades of experience delivering large-scale commercial projects, the team at Primera partners with contractors and designers to develop cutting-edge corporate office spaces that feature high-quality flooring, countertops, and other elements tailored to the client’s unique needs and vision. To learn more about our commercial design services, visit https://primera.net/commercial-design/ or call us today at (866) 752-7336!