The future has arrived! It’s 2023 and we’re living in a time where almost anything is possible. So what does that mean for office design?
With so many fast-paced changes to technology and the way we work over the past decade, you might be wondering how to catch up and future-proof your business.
Well, we’re glad you asked.
This cosy Director’s office in the newly completed Blueline Taxis office is hitting all the right notes for 2023 and many years to come.
Future-proofing an office means looking ahead to design trends as they unfold, and often before they even happen. It means keeping abreast of developments and advancements in products and tech to properly prepare your workplace for the inevitable shifts in the future.
Sounds intense, we know. But don’t worry, this is very much our forté and there are ways to prepare your business for the unknown ahead. With us on your side, you’ll not only survive whatever the future has in store, but you’ll also be thriving.
Our first pointer for future-proofing the office is to maximise your flexibility across every department. These days the workplace isn’t simply a bricks-and-mortar structure housing staff between the hours of 9 and 5.
Workplaces are now inspiring hubs of connection, socialisation, and innovation. They’re the outward-facing, physical embodiment of your brand, your ethos and your culture. You don’t want that to begin to date and the office to lose its sense of creativity and purpose, lest it gives off the wrong impression!
This space in the KCOM offices could be used for a variety of purposes on an ad-hoc basis.
Keep productivity levels high by ensuring that your dividers and spatial elements have in-built flexibility. Think furniture over fixtures, or moveable dividers over solid walls. Pop-up pods/desking/anything really comes into its own here. Temporary features, modular, adaptable pieces, and products that enable inexpensive or free modifications to the purpose of a space are perfect for the modern office
Consider also the potential need to move to a new location; can you take everything with you and reset it up in a new space easily? This will massively impact on teardown and setup time too, as well as the cost involved, allowing you to get back to work in your new destination asap.
Location, location, location
This follows on from the last point nicely. If you are in the midst of choosing a new location for the office, how do you choose wisely and avoid having to move again a couple of years down the line?
Simple. Ask yourself if there’s room to grow. Is it convenient for key members of staff and clients to get to, and is it near transport links? Is parking important? Does this office represent who the company is currently and what we want it to be in the future? If you’re answering yes then you’re likely onto a winner.
Location was certainly important for Harworth offices in central Leeds, and we’ve made the most of those city centre views with these huge floor-to-ceiling windows and clever placement of moveable furnishings, too.
A warm reception
It doesn’t matter how great the rest of your office is, if you’re not nailing that first impression when people walk through the doors you’re wasting an opportunity. Make it obvious that people have arrived in your space from that first moment and ensure you’re setting the right tone.
A safe, future-proof reception area equals better customer service or client relations, and more trust in your brand overall. It also makes your staff feel proud to come to work each day, which is going to help attract and retain the best people for the team.
Welcome to the West Barn Co. reception in County Durham. You get a real sense of arrival and welcome when you enter the office.
Integrate best-of-breed software and hardware for solutions, both planned and unprecedented. Staying ahead of tech developments is well worthwhile as broken or slow machines can cost time and money. The acceleration of the digital revolution really means that anything other than cutting-edge isn’t an option. That’s how critical the role of technology is in our daily lives.
When building a workplace that’s prepared for the future, making sure your team is equipped with the best tools for their jobs or revamping things so that they are up to speed and friction-free, is vital because otherwise, your productivity will start to suffer immeasurably.
This attractive imagery on the frosted glass at KCOM lets everyone know what this area has been designed for, and that it’s fully kitted out and fit for purpose.
Paperless costs less
Going digital is about more than just machinery.
A paperless office reduces overheads dramatically, and also means that data is harder to lose or misplace. Keeping documents and files on a cloud enables multiple members of the team to access the most up-to-date version of the information on any given Tuesday. It also saves employee time, which also reduces costs for most companies, reduces the amount of storage space required, and allows for simpler and better organisation.
While we’re on the topic, make sure you’ve updated your lightbulbs to more efficient, eco-friendly, and (yep, you’ve guessed it) cost-effective models.
Following on from discussing the overheads involved with light bulbs and paper, these are also great areas in which to reduce your carbon footprint in an increasingly eco-conscious business world. Not only because it saves on damage to the environment if you’re not requiring as much paper, but you’re also avoiding using potentially harmful ink cartridges and printers too.
A focus on sustainability is a big way to future-proof your workplace and to gain some eco brownie points for your overall brand too.
Biophilic design is a great way to get the conversation started on your company’s eco credentials, like this feature wall in the KCOM offices.
A different culture
Let’s focus on your company culture. A necessary kettle in the corner of the room really doesn’t cut it anymore! But you already know that, right? So in 2023 let’s make it the focal point.
Fostering a real sense of community with your office design helps your team feel valued, and will help attract new members with your reputation. Think break out spaces and social areas, gyms, cafe-style lunchrooms, virtual incentives, a strong social media strategy, discounts on food, healthcare, yoga classes, available ping pong tables, regular social events… This all helps boost morale and allows employees to refresh their thinking by upping sticks and moving to another spot in the office when it suits them, for peace and quiet, a brain-storming chat or simply a change of scenery.
This brings us to the importance of creating an environment that centres around wellness. We’ve seen a surge in people wanting to work outdoors, at al fresco tables or in public parks – and we’ve also seen offices enabling this in a proactive way. The combination of natural light, fresh air, and a sense of escape is a tonic for most employees.
…And if you can’t get outdoors, create a sense of the outdoors indoors, as we’ve helped West Barn Co. do here!
If you can, why not invest in your outdoor space? Provide WiFi to create an extension of your internal office footprint, take meetings outside for some fresh thinking – and you may even free up some internal space in the process. It makes sense to make sure this is an option all year round so perhaps consider covering and heating to get the most from the space.
Your next steps
As always, it’s important to accept that there is no one size fits all approach to all of this. We’ve seen enough office refits to know that what works for one won’t be optimum across the board, and it would be unrealistic to assume so. Ideally, we want you to take on board our tips and pointers but then apply them in a way that works for your business.
On top of that, office design can be a complex enough process in the here and now, without trying to think ahead. Each new generation differs in many ways from its predecessor, and office design is no different. The workforce has been shaped by entirely different factors and therefore has unique expectations of the role an office plays. It takes some serious thought to be able to think past that and surrender to adaptability – while still keeping things stylish!
This is where we come in! We don’t want you to feel overwhelmed, and we know how to get the results your company needs from its office space, crafting a forward-thinking environment primed for versatility.
Get in touch and let’s get started.