An example of biophilic design Photo: Facebook
DURBAN - Offices are moving from being functional spaces to being more people friendly. 

Emma Leith, Interior Decorator at the workplace specialists Giant Leap, has shared the top 5 workplace trends that we can expect to see in South African offices next year. 

Dynamic Workplaces Layouts

Leith said that multi-functional community space is an office trend that has been around for some time. This is an increasing favoured workspace layout that accommodates needs that are constantly changing. This allows people to have more fluidity, mobility and flexibility in the workplace. 

This trend can be seen in the form of modular, lightweight furniture, work benches and sit-stand desks. More businesses, particularly those with greater creative operative functions are forming inspiring, unconventional work zones like yoga or rooms for meditation and lounges for important meetings. 

Communal spaces are becoming an important part of the workplace where people can get together for an informal meeting, enjoy a cup of coffee alone or collaborate across teams.

What a sit-stand desk looks like Photo: Facebook
A New Level Of Comfort In The Workplace

Office fit outs are about creating a home away from home feeling. This is done by providing cosy, welcoming lounges, communal canteens, and comfy break-out areas. 

This helps make the working environment better which helps to make employees feel more comfortable and valued.  Furniture that is used in most residential settings is now being used in office spaces, that ultimately create a warm, eclectic, never-want-to-leave-the-office feeling. 

Leith said that the popularity of the trend growing in 2018 as millennials who are pushing this trend are resisting old ways of working. 

A private pod or space that can be used for privacy or concentration. Photo: Facebook
Some Peace and Quiet

The trend towards open plan offices also creates the need for private areas or pods to allow for concentration or privacy. 

Leith said that private pods are needed whether it has a quiet phone call, meeting or place to work with no disturbances. Therefore a combination of spaces is important in the modern workplace.   Private areas can be an innovatively designed telephone booth, a soundproof focus room or soundproof space dividers. 

An example of biophilic design Photo: Facebook
Bringing The Outside In 

A biophilic design which focuses on peoples' innate love of nature, is a trend that will be seen a lot in 2018 according to Leith.

People want to see more natural elements in their environment as the average person spends 90% of their time indoors.  Nature is a major influential factor when considering the design of a building. The elements of nature are being brought into buildings using textures, patterns, natural lighting and live plants. 

Wellness in the Workspace

Wellness programmes encourage physical and mental health. Work gyms, showers and breakout areas that provide complimentary healthy refreshments are some of the few offerings that can create greater employee satisfaction. 

The office space is heading towards exciting things next year as companies get innovative in their way of thinking said, Leith.