2020 is upon us, and with it a new decade. The 2010s changed the workplace in a number of ways, with a larger focus on staff-centric models designed to boost morale and happiness via green spaces, versatile office layouts and day to day flexibility. How are the 2020s going to affect the office, and what changes can we expect to see throughout the next decade?
#1) A Focus on Office Design for Millennials
Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce, and companies will continue to attract the brightest new talent with dedicated gym rooms and other perk-focused amenities. By the end of the 2020s, the next generation will be stepping into the workforce, which means the office environment of the 2030s might look vastly different. For now, millennials are a driving force in the corporate world, and there will be a hard push towards incentivizing employment for them at least until 2026, after which time this focus may become more relaxed. In truth, this millennial focus is beneficial for the older generation of workers, as well. Companies that focus on incentivizing happiness in their employees will find a more productive workforce, overall. Everyone wins.
#2) Versatility to the Max
Versatile workspaces aren’t perfect, but every sign shows they’re going to evolve throughout the next decade. Designing a versatile workspace is vital for employees who want the flexibility to work in different parts of the office in order to shake things up a bit. It can alleviate stagnation while inspiring creativity and motivation, and has been proven to affect everything from the number of sick days taken, to overall employee retention. Expect the 2020s to focus more on versatile workspaces where board meetings can be taken in the break room, or office environments can quickly be reconfigured on the fly thanks to retractable wall systems. It won’t stop there, either. Rooftop and outdoor work areas will gain a larger foothold for those who want a bit of fresh air while they work. This injects a fresh dynamic to the office which can banish mental fatigue and help staff look forward to coming into work every day.
#3) What’s Old is New Again
We’ve already seen many workspaces flirting with retro styling over the last decade, and that’s bound to continue into the next as well. There’s a certain charm to old retro buildings and styles from past decades, and when blended with contemporary elements, it can create a fun and imaginative balance. Nostalgia can trigger wonderful feelings, and companies who leverage this emotion and employ it within a functional workspace will definitely have a winner on their hands. In fact, well-aged companies who bring back a lot of outdated design motifs throughout their history and incorporate them into the workspace can foster a sense of traditionalism and company culture that speaks to the staff, and encourages them to become part of it.
#4) Moving Forward, Naturally
The rise of versatile and organic workspaces in the 2010s served as the first layer of asphalt on the road towards natural office environments designed with employee well-being in mind. Natural light and green in the workplace helped establish a standard when it came to putting staff back in touch with nature, which is proven to boost well-being, healthiness and happiness. Expect more of this in the 2020s, even when nature takes an “unnatural” turn. Engineers in Italy have already developed an LED lighting system that mimics the natural properties of sunlight, which could open up a whole new market that caters to workplaces in environments where none can be found. Those working underground or in extreme areas of the world where daylight disappears for weeks at a time may finally be able to enjoy the benefits of natural light within their office space. This focus on natural, organic workspaces will only increase over the next decade, and most certainly beyond.
#5) The Technology Titan
Technology was the single-greatest factor that changed workspaces in the 2010s. We were able to cut the cord and banish the office desktop computer in favor of portable laptops with massive battery lives that made it easy to do work anywhere around the office. Mass adoption of super-fast internet speeds allowed some of us to work from home without any bottlenecks, while cloud-based software and storage helped businesses work faster and more efficiently, even with large teams. As technology continues to grow by leaps and bounds, so too will the focus shift more towards user experience. Expect the next decade of apps to be more user-friendly, especially in the corporate realm where large teams collaborate on massive projects. Team organization software might even flirt with virtual reality technology to add more visualization to the process, giving us our first (albeit crude) virtual meetings and client calls. Whatever happens, technology will be a major driving force.
We love designing the perfect office spaces, and if you’re as excited for the next decade of modern office design as we are, we encourage you to get in touch with us today so we can help you plan ahead!