Office design trends, and office furniture, have vastly evolved over the years. Their evolution delves well beyond personal taste or style, and manifested into a realm of catering to functionality and productivity. Who do design experts credit this evolution to? Millennials!
Changing the workplace: from furniture to flex hours
As bad of a rap as our poor millennials have acquired for being self-absorbed and lazy, changes in the work environment, at least as far as design goes, suggest otherwise. So why does it seem millennials are changing atmosphere and design in the workplace? They want more, but in a good way. Previous generations have been heavily focused on their paycheck as what was most important to them to get from their work. While millennials do want to be paid, they are putting importance on things like flex hours, paternal leave, and inviting work spaces ( to include office furniture).
Interestingly, millennials are the ones who want to feel like they work in a community environment, and are interested in collaborative spaces. This is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the baby boomers, who seem to prefer larger, private office spaces. While there are still plenty of large, private office spaces to be found, many companies are transitioning to more of the millennial style. This evolution in office space and office furniture makes sense. As boomers are beginning to retire, and more millennials are coming into the workforce, we should expect to see a large increase in millennials in managerial positions over the next 5 years.
I think they’re onto something
How do businesses start out? Well, most start with an idea one person has that they act on. It starts with them working at their own desk or dining room table, then they bring on a couple other people, and they’re all around that dining room table, or utilizing a card table in a garage. Ya know, whatever works. It’s not grand or glamorous, but that’s the reality of where even the biggest of companies start from. And what comes along with that small group of people gathered around the dining room table? Collaboration, ideas-they feed off each other’s energy, and low and behold…PRODUCTIVITY! As humans we innately feed off other people’s energy.
Then what’s next? The company grows, they quickly move into an office space where everyone has their own dedicated, private workspace, and continue on. But what disappeared? Many times the energy disappeared. That good, raw energy that radiated so freely around that dining room table is now amiss!
Less energy=Less productivity
How does all this collaborative, inviting office space translate into actual office setup and office furniture? Well, if you want to integrate some of the trending office designs, you don’t have to implement an office slide like Google…really, it’s been a thing at Google for a few years now. What you need are brighter colors, some open conference (or collaborative) areas, and small group work spaces. You can also get creative with some traditional office furniture, to deliver the open, collaborative, energy-infused office space you’re looking for.
First thing is to start to cut back on your traditional closed-off offices…the fewer walls the better. Instead you can use something like dual workstations in a large room, and put several of them in there. This eliminates closed off office spaces, and still allows for personal workspace. Another economical option to create these small work groups, would be to create work quads with more traditional desks, like our used 30×60 Steelcase desks at Better Office Furniture in St. Charles.
You may be thinking, “Well, if I go ahead and put in these work quads, where will they store files and supplies that don’t go in their desks?! We have a solution for that too. If you put together these quads towards the center of the room, you could then add credenzas up against the wall, that could house extra necessary supplies. If you prefer, you could also go with file cabinets. The important thing is to make sure whatever storage style you choose flows with the seated workspace.
Actually, I’m going to go off in a mini-tangent here! We’re having a HUGE, I mean enormous Labor Day sale this weekend. Those used Steelcase desks mentioned above, yeah, you can get your hands on those puppies for $99! I’m going to drop a quick image below with sale prices for you. That way I can carry on with the rest of this millennial office design you’re dying to know about.
Okay, so we nailed down some workspace furniture. As far as the design for that area, we recommend bright, and natural colors. Adding some artwork is a phenomenal idea, too. In fact, an article on Forbes cited that 77% of professionals on LinkedIn who were surveyed said artwork makes them feel happier; 74% said it inspired them and 27% said it improves their productivity. I don’t know about you, but I want my employees happy, inspired, and productive!
What else can I do besides open up offices?
Opening up offices and creating a more inviting atmosphere is a fantastic first step. If you really want to create that millennial-loved comfy,inviting atmosphere, we recommend you create a couple small, less formal collaboration stations. This is pretty easy to accomplish. Often a reception style seating space, like the one below, will be enough area for a few team members to sit and brainstorm, or bounce ideas off each other. Plus, it has a fresh, clean style with a white color or lighter color that will brighten up the area.
Technology falls into the office trends category. If technology is an area you’re perusing to upgrade, think mobile: laptops opposed to desktops, tablets, headsets, and wireless mice. Millennials becoming a larger part of the work force, and largely taking their everyday work environment into account when job-hunting, means providing the tools they are used to utilizing. And least be honest, most of these are a heck of a lot more time efficient (millennials for the win again)!
Good news for you if you’re dragging your feet into the 21st century, but truly want to add something that starts to transition you to the open and collaborative office realm. Something I didn’t put in the “technology” list, but is loved: a white board! That’s right, no fanciness here. Just a big, simple white board. They key is to have a large meeting style table, get some nice looking white office chairs, and stick a white board at the front of the table! This creates an amazing space for large team collaboration, and can also double as a conference area.
Have more questions about open and collaborative spaces? We’re only an email away.
You can also call us at 314-266-9083. Better yet, stop by our Labor Day Sale at Better Office Furniture in St. Charles this weekend!