How workspaces will change this year

Looking forward to kicking goals this year? Well we’ve got one more thing for you to anticipate: trends that will change the way you set up your workspace.

These aren’t just aesthetic changes, but designs that make sense for the way we work today. Gavin Harris, design director at futurespace, has worked in interior design for over two decades. His former clients include Microsoft Sydney and Deloitte London. Here, Harris shares trends you’ll see in workplaces of all sizes this year.

Technology and furniture: a match made in workspace heaven

Think about the tech that visits your desk every day. Phones. Laptops. Monitors. Tablets. Headphones. And everyone at this tech party needs to be charged every day. Harris believes the answer is more tech-enabled furniture.

“Furniture will support devices by keeping them charged. More chargers will be built into tables, both in wired and wireless varieties,” he says.

More comfortable pieces

You may have noticed more sit-stand desks and ergonomic furniture in recent years. 2017 is likely to continue this trend. It’s about creating warm spaces, and places of sanctuary for staff. This kind of atmosphere invites people to do great work.

Curves are back

We’ve all stubbed a toe or grazed a hip on furniture before. But in 2017, you can finally say goodbye to furniture bruises. Workspaces this year will move away from hard geometric designs in favour of softer shapes. “Curved edges will be more en vogue,” Harris says. Furniture will give you the same comfort as furniture from resorts, hotels and other relaxing places.

"It’s about creating warm spaces, and places of sanctuary within your work environment."

Happier offices with organic materials 

Metals and plastics aren’t going anywhere any time soon. But you’ll start seeing less of them around the workplace. Expect to see a wider variety of textures as designers move towards more organic materials in furniture. We’ll see wooden tabletops inlaid with metals, and metal pieces blended with natural elements like a mix of timbers. “When these organic materials are compared to standard laminate desktops, it makes for a happier work environment,” Harris says.

Office design at REA Group

A homely feel

Office furniture will be designed to better connect people, technology and the physical environment. For an idea of what that might look like, look no further than your own home.

“There’s going to be much more of a domestic feel.” He lists the home kitchen table as an example. “It’s a great place to meet with the family, but that same idea can work within the office. It’s a place for colleagues to meet, and they’re likely to share a bite to eat as much as they’ll work out a problem together.”

A rise in private spaces

“Collaborative furniture that brings people together in office gathering spaces will continue to be popular,” Harris says. But the primary trend will be centered around to the needs of the individual. “Furniture that creates more private spaces for individual work seems to be much more prevalent this year,” he says. “That means more private chairs, and more private booths.”

Harris explains this is a reaction to open-plan offices, where furniture was designed primarily for collaboration. “Those offices never gave people the chance to individually focus on something, and now that has been addressed.”

Higher quality design in more places

And Harris predicts it won’t take long for workplaces to catch on to new trends. “The uptake will happen faster than in the past,” he says. This is because attracting and retaining talent is becoming more important to businesses. “And obtaining that well-designed quality is much more accessible than in the past.”