As we’re all well aware, the past year has had a profound impact on the working lives of many people. In particular, companies have had to embrace new ways of working, such as remote working and socially distanced office spaces. And there’s no doubt that we’ll continue to see the effects of COVID-19 on office design in many years to come. So, how are architects designing office spaces of the future and what features might we be seeing soon?
There are limitless factors that influence interior design, particularly office design. We’ve seen health and social considerations rise in importance but the usual factors such as new technologies and style trends will always be at the forefront of innovative design.
The work that goes into designing office spaces is much the same for each architect, of course if the building itself is listed this can influence our process, but generally the stages of design stay the same.
At Western Building Consultants, our process includes complete support from concept to completion. We begin with the necessary consultations and meetings to define the design brief and the end-goal of the building project. We then move on to drawing up the designs and taking care of any additional requirements, such as measure surveys and planning permission. We are a one-stop-shop for your project, so we can provide the majority of services needed or recommend contractors we trust for anything outside of our expertise. We will organise and manage the project, fitting in where you need us to ensure effective communication and a hassle-free experience. Once the design is signed off, the build will begin according to a agreed timeline.
In recent years, virtual and augmented reality has made its way into a public-facing tool for entertainment, but it could soon be the norm for design too. Rather than just something used by the designers themselves, VR is now frequently used to show clients an entirely new, 360-degree view of their new space. This can also be a great way to ‘test-run’ any designs and spot potential problems that can’t be seen on paper.
Similar to VR, there are a number of other technologies that are becoming more widely accessible – 3D printers allow architects to create prototypes of their designs, enabling them to adjust and test time and time again.
Standing desks have always been on the sidelines waiting for their moment to shine, and with the rise of remote working, many people have turned to them to try and stay active. Standing desks can be great for wellbeing, reducing back pain and helping increase circulation but to incorporate standing desks into existing office design can be tricky. With careful thought and planning, standing desks can be an asset to the office without sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s likely that we’ll see them a lot more following the return of office-based working.
Features that support health and wellbeing are going to become more common even in the most basic of office spaces.
As mentioned above, the priority of wellness and happiness of workers is set to continue to be an integral part of future office design.
In the age of COVID-19, features such as air filtration systems are expected to be in demand. Not only does focusing on wellness help with employee’s trust in their employers, it can also positively impact productivity and reduce the number of those pesky office colds.
This is a term used to describe the change in how close workers are. Unlike the standard cubicles and tables for everyone to crowd around, we now have to consider whether there’s adequate space for social distancing measures. This act of reducing the concentration of people and furniture is a behavioural change the office design needs to support rather than hinder. This requires smart planning and flexibility of the workplace, especially in terms of being able to move around furniture and barriers that would traditionally keep people together.
With many people still unsure about whether they want to quit remote-working, employers are going to have to consider what they can have at the office that will encourage their workers to return.
Embracing new technologies such as 3D printers and AI will make the office indisposable. While it might be a long term investment, incorporating new technologies that can streamline processes can really benefit productivity and performance in the long-run.
When you think of the exciting new aspects of future technology, security is rarely mentioned, yet it is set to change drastically! With the introduction of high-tech offices, it won’t be long before having an office pass or key is a thing of the past.
Biometric access controls allow workers to enter the office through touch-free access points or fingerprint scans.
This added layer of protection can be hugely beneficial for offices worried about confidentiality and security. Biometric controls also double up as a new way for workers to clock in and out without even needing to think about it.
Through IOT and AI, we could soon see an increase in offices embracing smart buildings. Essentially, this means apps and devices can be connected to control aspects of the building such as temperature, lighting and sound controls—without even needing to be in the building!
Smart buildings can also be particularly useful for those looking to monitor energy usage and improve the energy efficiency of their office.
So, now that we’ve round-up the elements of offices we might be seeing in the near future, which one are you looking forward to the most?
If you’re looking to design your office, or update an existing one, we can help! Western Building Consultants have vast experience designing offices in Bath and surrounding areas, including master planning for commercial sites, project administration for offices, interior fit-outs, fire risk assessments, principal designer roles and refurbishments of offices in Bath. In addition to designing your office, we also offer dilapidations, building control advice, measured building surveys and CDM principal designer duties to help you successfully complete your commercial office project.
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