Office Design Trends to Watch in 2019

For the past few years, our team have looked at emerging office design trends and this year is no different so here are our predictions for office design trends in 2019.

See our related office trends reports for 2020 and 2021 

If interested you can judge our predictions for office design trends to watch in 2018 by reading our article from last year, and if you are looking for an office design & build partner for your new office, you can get in touch by clicking here.

The modern workplace is unrecognisable from what it was a decade ago and as the pace of changes gathers momentum, many of the office design trends are centred around creating a positive workplace experience for clients and staff alike and which also acts to attract and retain talent. Our office design-obsessed team have another article that focuses on the history of office design if you want to learn more about the evolution of the office, but below we’ll focus on some key trends we believe will become prominent throughout 2019.

In 2018, we witnessed an increasingly innovative way of using previously dead spaces (the third space) in the workplace, or what our team coined as ‘the rise of the unconventional work space’ and many of the trends of 2019 build upon this and also trends of yesterday which have become embedded into the workplace of today.

Utilising dead space – the unconventional workspace.

So what can we expect in 2019 and what will be the preeminent office design trends to expect? Well, here’s what the K2 Space team think.

Defining the workplace experience

The world of office design has undoubtedly shifted from a traditional focus on functionality and maximising headcounts to becoming an increasingly staff centric exercise, with the workplace experience now a commonly used phrase within the design vernacular.

The notion of workplace experience stems from the desire to create a workplace where staff feel happy, can work productively and where they feel valued with the challenge for office designers is how to translate these aims into the physical aesthetic and flow. This experience is influenced by a wide range of factors from the quality of tea, coffee and snack on offer to the ability to store bikes and quality of showering facilities but increasingly, progressive companies are becoming more proactive when it comes to defining the workplace experience from the perspective of staff and clients.

The workplace experience is centred around how staff interact with the space. What this means for office designers is that there is now a great deal more time spent in defining the detail whilst also engaging with staff on a more frequent basis to define their needs and wants from the workplace, and as such the process of creating or improving any workplace become far more holistic. This can mean hereto now items/events considered unusual in the workplace like yoga studios, massage rooms, games areas and even spaces to play music are now been introduced as elements that can positively impact the overall workplace experience.

Our mantra at K2 Space is that great staff deserve great offices and in the same vein, many companies now firmly believe (and we agree) that by creating great offices and a workplace experience to match, they will attract and retain great staff who will prosper in that environment. You can read more about defining the workplace experience in our dedicated piece.

Embracing the old & iconic – where old meets new

This trend is not entirely new but has certainly gained more credence in recent times and we predict, this will continue during 2019. Much more than simply adding a nod to the past through the addition of old furniture, this trend focuses on working with older office buildings and spaces and injecting new life into them. From a design perspective, it means preserving the craftsmanship built into the existing architecture, and for example bringing once dilapidated steel, brick structures, and warehouses back to life.

Reef House Office

The K2 Space team recently worked to transform an old mews building in central London into a workplace with a real difference, where the brief was to work with and showcase its original features – you can read the full case study here. We anticipate more and more companies will embrace this when working on older buildings with the challenge becoming how to balance the ageless features of the old buildings with modern office furniture and decor.

Crafting a design concept that balances the old with the new can involve utilizing a variety of finishes and textures including rough, worn furniture pieces and industrial style brickwork and concrete flooring which can move effortlessly into the future while maintaining its inherent connection to the past.

Office Design Design Trends in 2019
Sketch up showing the bar area at Bericote.

Concentration Spaces – The Office Library

The K2 Space team are major advocates of providing staff with an array of workspaces where they can choose to work depending on the task at hand, and what we are seeing more and more of, is a surge in demand for quiet spaces where individuals can concentrate without distraction.

The gripe that comes up most often when we engage with staff prior to designing a new space or refurbishing an existing office is that they find it difficult to concentrate in the office due to noise levels and also distractions. In response to this, companies are introducing not only small pods for individuals to work from when required or where they can comfortably take phone calls or participate in video conference calls, but also library-style spaces designed to ensure staff have spaces where silence and distraction are minimised.

Office Design Trends in 2019
Typical library space in the workplace – a key office design trend in 2019

The objective of these types of library spaces in the workplace are clear but the real challenge lies in ensuring that everybody adheres to a clear set of rules for that space and that all understand that colleagues working there are not to be distracted. Other rules we’ve seen are what you would expect to see in actual libraries – no mobiles, no talking and critically no interruptions – we’ve also seen a ‘no headphones rule’ as they can prove distracting.

As the need to concentrate and to take time out to collect thoughts on a project(s) increase, we expect to see more and more of these types of spaces become commonplace in the modern workplace.

Colour Pop – Enliven the space

We are big fans of utilizing colour to reflect the personality of a brand within the workplace, but what we mean by colour pop, relative to office design is the trend towards using strong, bold colours to enliven a space and to literally make it ‘pop’.

Our team have used this to great effect in several offices as you’ll see through the images below where yellow has been used to lift a breakout space at DTRE, along with the furniture fabric colours which were deliberately selected as compliments.

The notion of colour pop is to use bold colours sparingly so they serve to lift the space and create interest – the old adage of ‘Sometimes, all you need is a splash of colour’ really sums up the idea behind colour pop, and expect to see more of this in 2019.

Other Office Design Trends to watch out for in 2019

While the 2019 office design trends referenced above are what we believe will be prominent during the coming year, there are also a number of other considerations worth mentioning, some of which aren’t revolutionary but nonetheless equally important.

  • Let there be light: We worked with YouGov earlier this year to survey 1000 UK office workers and found that 1 in 3 respondents would like to see more natural light in their workplace
  • First Impressions Matter: In the same YouGov survey (read the full results here), we found that where people were interviewed had a major impact on whether or not they decided to work there, with >50% saying it had an impact. From an office design trends perspective, we anticipate seeing dedicated interview rooms appear in larger offices during 2019 and beyond – rooms dedicated to leaving the desired first impression.
  • The Green Workplace: The office design trend of bringing nature indoors continues as more and more organizations add shrubbery and plants to their offices, as well as green moss and living walls. A past trend we are delighted to see become more of a fundamental element of modern office design.

We hope you enjoyed looking into the crystal ball with us and if you need any help creating an amazing office during 2019, we’d love to learn more, so call us at 0207 697 4670 or email [email protected].

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