Workplace Strategy Trends 2017

2016 wasn't the most positive of years in many ways, but commercial office trends really started coming to the forefront of design, as more employers started to value how their staff were feeling at work, and what would help them be happier and more productive.

Following on from 2016, wellness is a continuing trend. The term is quite ambiguous, but it tends to mean the psychological and physical health of your workforce and how to achieve it. 'Bringing the outside in' was a phrase plastered all over design websites last year, and it seems they're planning on using it for a while yet. Getting plants into your workspace is one of the easiest ways to boost the mood of your employees. Plants produce oxygen, are proven to reduce stress by nearly 40%, and generally just make the office a nicer place to be. Natural light is another big one - any natural light should be taken advantage of, and if there isn't any, lighting the space correctly is essential, as well as allowing everyone regular breaks to go outside and catch some rays. 

Collaborative working was also massive in 2016, and that's moving into 2017 too. Companies are limiting personal workspaces, and are focusing on creating places where people can work flexibly; together or alone. In addition, larger companies are opening up and sharing their huge offices with smaller companies and start-ups at a reduced rate, to give everyone the opportunity to work in an inspiring environment. 

A newly emerging trend for 2017 is the move towards authenticity-centred design that, behind the buzzwords, is quite a simple concept. It's about working more closely with the client to fully understand their ethos and to reflect that in the design of the office. This is a direct result of the millennial "revolution". In the unlikely event that you haven't heard of millennials, they're anyone born between 1984 and 2000, and they're taking over, apparently. The term is everywhere, and appears in almost every blog about trends, so we can't really miss it out. They look for a workplace that represents a sense of purpose, and contributes to the greater good. Having access to good technology is essential, and integrating power adaptors and wireless charging into office design plays on their love of being constantly connected to the rest of the world through social media.

Feeling mobile appeals too, so don't have them sitting at the same desk all day. Creating collaborative areas for different teams and tasks that are flexible is a way of keeping them motivated, in addition to suggesting other places to work - including from home. If the job can be done at home, why not let employees split their time? Communication is easy due to the magic of the internet, and less commuting means less stress.

Design trends are now often based on scientific research - everyone wants to know where the decisions come from and why they're being made. Environmental awareness is at its peak, so there's a constant stream of research and products being catapulted into the office design-sphere. In addition, reviews of workplaces take place more often, and colleagues are being asked what they want included.

Strong internal branding is another result of the millennial influence. Feeling a part of something is important, so bright, bold branding is essential for them to feel like they're an important of your brand. It'll also help your company gain a competitive edge in attracting and keeping a talented workforce, as well as generating positive feelings about their role in the company.

To find out more about workplace strategy, read our dedicated blog on the subject.