Flexibility and Function: Office Design Trends for 2018
Flexibility and Function: Office Design Trends for 2018

Flexibility and Function: Office Design Trends for 2018

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Nov 20, 2017

Office design trends have been changing rapidly ever since researchers found that office layout and decor can affect the productivity of its workers. These changes tend to occur in waves as a handful of companies decide a certain office design breeds a positive cultural change…until a new trend emerges.

So what are the office design trends gaining traction this year & moving strong into 2018? We check in and find out it’s all about being able to relate, create & adapt.

Millennial focus:

You probably guessed that many popular changes to office life cater to what millennials want from a work environment. Generally, Millennials yearn for a sense of purpose through work. They want to know their efforts make a positive contribution, they want a built-in social structure, and they want to be able to design aspects of their working environment to jive with their specific working style.

Agile workspaces:

You are likely familiar with one such “modular component” known as that stand desks, a now-common office innovation millennials have embraced for its versatility and built-in ability to combat the horrendous health implications of sitting down for an entire career.

Office design trends for 2018 will likely expand the use of modular components to include a phenomenon known as “desk hoteling.”  You access the company’s hotdesk repository online, shop for a desk based on its location and amenities like proximity to windows, bathrooms or common areas, and then reserve it for a specific block of time. This can help prevent the dreaded fate of spending a career working from the same desk surrounded by the same stale surroundings.

Deliberately designed surroundings:

We know Millennials favor less-conventional workspaces with flexible furniture, fewer cubicles, more spaces for collaboration and more amenities that inspire and energize. In a LinkedIn survey, 77% of responders claimed that art makes them feel happier, 74% said it inspired them and 27% indicated pleasing décor improved their productivity.


Trendy companies, particularly in the tech sphere, have designed their high traffic areas toward inspiring casual, impromptu meetings that can spark innovation and camaraderie. More glass walls reduce claustrophobia, promote transparency and help breed a common company culture.  Color schemes are chosen based on a number of factors including how positively they influence our moods and productivity.

Neighborhood agreements:

A specific work area would require its permanent and temporary residents to abide by a code of behaviors. One neighborhood could act like a silent room where Skype calls are forbidden and meditation is encouraged. Another could be a collaboration space where workers can go for a social outlet or for animated discussions of new projects with old and new friends.

In this rapid change environment, it’s important managers stay abreast of the most recent trends, lest they fall prey to gimmicks that breed unwanted effects. Ping pong tables that numerous startups used to lure young talent, or example, actually blur the lines between recreational space and workspace that ends up hindering productivity. The aforementioned trends have been tested and can confidently be instituted by companies or nonprofits looking to improve the output and happiness of their employees.

At the end of the day, the trends that will govern 2018 will be a meaningful extension of what we’ve seen this year. Being creative, moving quickly and collaborating are all central to the productive offices of the future.

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Nov 20, 2017

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