2020 Office Trends to Pay Attention To

Every year, trends in workspace design dominate the conversation. Some are fads that come and go, others become foundational staples of commercial interior design forever. From our view, here’s what we are paying attention to.

Ergonomics. Open offices. Biophilic designs. Pops of color.

Every year, trends like these seem to dominate the discourse of workspace design. Some of them are fads that come and go, others become foundational staples of commercial interior design that last for decades.

The first few months of 2020 have been filled with endless predictions of what the trends for this year will be. Which trends will happen and which won’t? Which are the most important? There is no right answer, and only time will tell, but here are the commercial interior design trends that we are paying attention to in 2020:

1. The Growing Desire for Social Spaces

While the rise of social or ancillary spaces isn’t new, the trend has continued to gain traction in businesses of all kinds. Even the most structured, formal companies that historically lived and died by their 8-foot-high-walled cubicles are beginning to soften to the idea of having collaborative areas for their employees.

The social spaces trend, which started as a piggyback off resimercial and domesticated design ideals, has become pervasive throughout every nook and cranny of the office space. Boardrooms are disappearing as multi-functional community spaces centered around lounge furniture take their place. Cafes and break rooms are not only commonplace, they’re required by employees. Where there was once a small desk, now lies a giant bean bag. And it’s not just offices. Universities, and even primary and secondary schools, are building more and more areas for their students to be human and interact with one another. 

And there’s a reason for it. Lynn Metz, a nationally recognized interior designer, notes four reasons why social spaces are on the rise: they support the lifestyle of younger generations,  and lifestyle, they multiply opportunities for member engagement, they encourage collaboration, and they are supported by our growing internet of things. 

2. Employees Demand for Natural Light

Similar to social spaces, the trend of incorporating natural light into the interior design of a space is not new, but it is incredibly important. According to a benchmark survey conducted by Leesman since 2010 which has interviewed over a half million employees, 71% of workers say that natural light is one of the most important physical features of a workplace. 

One of our recent commercial furniture projects for a large employer in the greater Boise area was part of a remodel that was based around moving private offices from the exterior of the building to the interior. The reason? So natural light could flood the whole area of the workspace, rather than just a few select offices for select executives. For this particular client, we even incorporated glass panels at the top of workstation walls so the natural light wouldn’t be inhibited by the necessary privacy features.

" of workers say that natural light is one of the most important physical features of a workplace"

3. Private Retreats in the Open Office

The norm for office life continues to trend toward more collaboration and social interaction. Even workstation heights have lowered to provide opportunity for employees to talk easily throughout the day. While headphones often provide a means for solitude, employees that reside in an open office floor plan want more personalized, private spaces where focus can be achieved.

Whether it’s an unassigned office, a phone booth, or a benching workstations, there are numerous ways to provide privacy for employees who need to get s*** done. A number of versatile products such Haworth Openest and the BuzziSpace BuzziBooth can be placed and moved around anywhere in a space.

In addition to having space for crunch time projects, these retreats can provide space for employees to have quiet reflection and practice meditation, which is one of the fastest growing health trends in America.

BuzziSpace BuzziBooth Privacy Booth
BuzziSpace Buzzibooth

4. Hospitality and Concierge Ousting Reception

A final trend that we see solidifying in 2020 is the movement away from traditional receptionist desks to areas of welcome that resemble more of a concierge at a hotel or a hostess stand at a restaurant. Historically, many reception desks served as the Great Wall of China once did: to keep any unwanted persons out of the kingdom (…or office) Today, many companies are reframing the idea of reception as a welcome, open gate rather than a blockade.

The rise of the hospitality industry has helped bring about this change in the corporate world, and it is providing a lot more flexibility for what reception can look like. Guests are eased into a social space, provided coffee or LaCroix, and seated at Archibald Armchairs by Poltrona Frau in front of a view that includes a beautiful wall decor and a 3Form Lightbox Wrapped Reception Desk, which looks more like a piece of art than a desk. This client experience speaks volumes about your brand and your culture before a customer has even walked into the meeting. 

While these interior design trends are not the only ones you will see on lists or in workspaces this year, we believe that these four are here to stay. We will check back in a year from now to see if we were right! In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions you have about these trends or about any of your office or workplace furniture design needs.