Chicago’s office tenants are looking beyond climbing walls and foosball tables to help attract top talent. According to Earles Architects and Associates (EAA), the new office design trends include bringing the comforts of home to the office with lounge seating, colorful furniture and carpeting, flexible desk arrangements, and textured wall coverings. These design trends were among several highlighted at the recent NeoCon trade show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Among the top office design trends to watch, according to EAA, are:
- Offices that feel like home—This involves bringing in desks, seating, benches and ottomans that mimic those found in a home. Employers are also adding break rooms, kitchens with islands and family style seating, and enough plants, textured wall coverings, and art work to create a home styled environment.
- Furniture that rejuvenates— Today’s office workers are busy and often asked to take on roles outside of their job description. They want furniture that can support them through long days and have flexible heights and adjustments. Many desks and chairs are made with ergonomics in mind. They also are sold in varying sizes to allow employees to customize their work stations.
- A focus on the environment. Office furniture and décor is heavily focused on sustainability. This includes not only recycled materials, but also styles that can be repurposed and modified over the years. There is a continued focus on natural fabrics, colors and textures. Greens and grasses are a big hit in many offices.
- New seating options—including several variations on the sit-stand theme. Research has shown that sitting down in the same position all day can have damaging effects on the body and our mindset. Adjustable chairs and tables – and those that allow you to work while standing are big in today’s furniture world. Lounge seating also is popular, as it helps create a relaxing environment. Some lounge chairs include a hidden panel for an electrical outlet and USB port, catering to those office workers who need to always stay charged and connected.
- Creative use of small spaces—Several manufacturers are modifying their furniture lines to help companies work more efficiently in small spaces. There are now a wide variety of sizes and shapes in desks, chairs, benches and tables, all designed to fill even the most unusual spaces. This allows businesses to use space efficiently, maximize vertical space, and avoid wasted or “dead” space. Many tables, benches and desks include height adjustments, electrical outlets and data connectivity to fit today’s technology needs.