Trends in Office Spaces in 2023

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The nature of the office space is changing, there’s no question about that.

The pandemic definitely threw the work world into flux, forcing people to work from home and making everyone question the value of the physical office space altogether

With the meteoric rise of Zoom and Microsoft Teams in popularity, more and more people started wondering if making the daily trek to the office was even worth it.

In some cases, companies’ answer to this question was no. Some industries have very straightforward, easily-quantifiable work that doesn't call into question what a given employee might be doing at any particular time.

For these companies, it is easier for employers to trust their employees to work from home and produce what they need on time and in the right way. 

The vast majority of companies, however, have returned to the office as they think it necessary for teams to be together to get the job done

Psychologically, it is better for most teams to be together at least part of the time. Nonetheless, the shake-up has allowed companies to start thinking outside the box in terms of design, methods, and work schedules.

What exactly are the trends?

The big tech giants in Silicon Valley have pioneered new trends in office spaces.

Trends in Office Spaces

At first, the appearance of the Google offices and others like it appeared space-aged and bizarre to many traditional companies.

However, with the pandemic having thrown the entire world out of whack, people are starting to think more broadly about why it is that companies like Google function in the way they do

Maybe there is a logic to creating office spaces in the US like this beyond simply being funky and futuristic.

Smart offices

One of the things that is happening is that offices are becoming “smarter.” What does this mean in particular? Well, several things:

Smart desks/conference rooms 

Smart desks allow for desks to be tracked and reserved by employees.

Particularly in spaces where desks are “hot,” or not used by particular individuals all the time, electronic systems can be arranged whereby different people can utilize spaces according to their availability

The same technology can work for conference rooms. With an online booking system, people don’t have to worry about potential schedule conflicts or getting times wrong. Once a booking is in the system, it is fixed and visible to everyone.

Smart lighting/temperature control

Businesses and individuals globally are becoming more environmentally conscious these days, and taking a more conscientious attitude towards the use of lighting is part of this.

For modern businesses, this means a switch towards smart lighting. With smart lighting systems, technologies can detect when people enter and exit rooms and adjust the lighting accordingly

This helps save costs and energy usage as lights are not left on needlessly when rooms are empty.

The same technologies are used to moderate temperature

Traditional offices tend to waste tremendous amounts of money on heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer as it is too much work to constantly modify temperatures. 

With smart technologies, systems can be programmed to work according to preferences and temperatures can be modified automatically without people having to waste time adjusting them manually.

Video monitoring 

Another feature of the smart workspace is video monitoring.

Video monitoring has been used for some time for security purposes, but it can also serve as a useful tool to monitor the use of space and overall office functioning. Cameras can be installed in different places to monitor entire office spaces.

The rise of hybrid working

As companies started contemplating bringing their employees back into the office when Covid got under control, people were understandably still reluctant to return and sit clumped together in a common space where they could easily infect one another. 

The rise of hybrid working

The idea of “hybrid” working wasn’t entirely new, of course.

It has actually been around since the early 1990s, but it didn’t really take off as an idea until recently because most traditional employers generally assumed that working meant being in an office all the time

When the pandemic hit, though, employers were forced to start thinking more creatively.

Many companies started implementing work schedules in which only certain percentages of office staff would come to the office on any given day. The initial goal was to space people out, of course, so as to reduce the possibility of infection. 

However, it soon became clear that working in-office only part-time was a preferable option for both employers and employees alike.

Employers could conserve space by having fewer people on-site than before, and employees didn’t have to worry about rushing to the office every morning

Teams can still meet online, and employees can meet their bosses face-to-face for valuable in-person communication. This idea is now taking root in many industries in office spaces around the US and globally.

Other trends in environmentalism

In addition to the implementation of smart office spaces, modern offices are utilizing more green technologies in other areas. This includes the following:

  • Recycled materials - Many offices are using more and more recycled materials in an effort to reduce waste. This includes not only paper but also recycled cups and plates in kitchen spaces, toiletries, etc. Some offices have even switched to paper-free spaces altogether.
  • Switch to LED lighting - With the rise in LED lighting, both businesses and individuals are ditching traditional incandescent and fluorescent light in favor of this cheaper, more environmentally-friendly alternative. LED lights use as much as 90% less energy than their traditional counterparts. They are also cheaper and more easily adjustable.
  • Upcycled furniture - Some offices that are really environmentally conscious have switched to using upcycled furniture. Particularly offices that are looking to make statements about conservation are finding clever ways to repurpose old furniture and give it a modern flair.

Recreation areas

One of the ideas pioneered by Google and its brethren in Silicon Valley is that of creating fun, interactive office spaces.

Recreation areas

These architects of post-modern office spaces knew that their employees would be working long, hard hours and wanted to find ways to reduce employee burnout.

While not all companies are getting as extreme as Google in their efforts to combine work and play, many are starting to incorporate some of these elements into their workspaces

Gamerooms, fitness centers, full-service kitchens, daycare, and other fun additions are helping to blur the line between work and recreation and keep people on top of their game.

New designs

Another thing that employers are re-thinking is the overall design of their offices. There is a reason people dread the daily trip to their cubicles.

They are dull, prevent the people in them from seeing the world, and in many other ways limit creative thought.

In many traditional offices, people are forced to sit in cubicles for decades before they finally earn a coveted corner office space of their own

Is this really the best way to spend the majority of your working years, people are starting to wonder? Why not do away with the standard cubicle altogether?

Particularly with the rise of coworking spaces, many employers are starting to rethink the designs of their office spaces, and the placement of their employees in particular.

Why not have floating hot desks that people can exchange as they need? Create collaborative spaces of other sorts? Let people work on the couch for a while as they wish?

As long as the job gets done, employers are starting to realize, workers should have the freedom to do their work in whatever physical manner they need to stay alert and motivated

Considering the fact that the world is becoming more and more digitized, and therefore personal “belongings” kept in the office are becoming unnecessary, there’s no reason that employers shouldn’t start thinking outside the box when it comes to work structures.

This also applies to larger company structures.

Traditionally, offices have been structured in such a way that departments are grouped together according to hierarchy, and people considered “lower” in a given company often have no physical access to those more senior. 

However, companies are starting to realize the value of inter-department communication more and more, and indeed communication between those of different ranks within a team.

Good ideas can come from unexpected places, after all.

The future is in our hands

These are just a few of the ideas that are helping to shape the post-Covid workspace.

The future is in our hands

These concepts will continue to evolve and expand, and there will be yet other innovations that contribute to the advancement of the modern office. The critical task for employers is to stay alert and keep up on what the trends are. 

You don’t want yours to be the business left behind as everyone else soars ahead into modern new workspaces. 

Conclusion

Keep reading up on what companies are doing in their office spaces.

The changes that you make could be major ones, or simply a matter of reorganizing a bit to create a fresher, more vibrant atmosphere. You don’t have to be Google to make a significant difference in your company morale. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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