London Office Design Trends

As time moves on office design trends change and new ideas come to the fore. Very often these are things that have been tried and tested and we now know they work. In some cases they are changes that we want to bring to the workplace because research or surveys of staff and clients highlight problems and potential solutions so they become incorporated into next generation designs and layouts. In this article we are looking at what London office design ideas are may be most popular in 2018.

More Open Collaborative Space

Over time we’ve seen changes in how office space is laid out and divided. In the past London office design was based more on individual office areas and offices were typically created in a linear fashion to ensure maximum capacity in the given space. As the need for more “collaborative space”, where staff can come together to be more creative and innovative, open plan areas that can encourage brainstorming and idea generation, open discussions and a more relaxed environment have become more and more important to the extent that “open plan” is now one of the most prevalent office design trends today.

The importance of collaborative space was summed up Robert Hicks of Reward Gateway who explains, ‘Moving into 2018, organisations should be focusing on their office layout and design in order to engage their employees. Workspace is one of the key elements to an engaged workforce and you have to cater for individuals and tasks. Having a workspace that’s designed to help build relationships between people and between teams will be key for companies in the coming years. For example, by having no fixed desks and no individual offices results in a reduction in hierarchy and builds relationships.’

Activity Based Working and Flexible Layouts

London office design is changing to be more focussed on activity based working (ABW). By enabling office layout flexibility you also enable your business to be more flexible in terms of meeting day to day office needs and you enable your staff to move away from traditional work stations providing far greater flexibility and allowing them to work how and where they want.

Workspace areas are also becoming more dynamic in terms of their purpose. Flexible layouts, modular furniture and foldable partitioning allows the same space to host a large meeting, act as a collaboration area as well as enable staff to have one-to-one sessions or to use the space as a break out area.

Break Out Areas

Break out areas are now becoming an everyday part of the modern London workplace giving employees areas where they can take a break and relax, eat their lunch, meet with clients, hold meetings or brainstorm. Break out areas can be anything from a themed area to a corner space in an office, a pod or a kitchen or tea point; as long as it’s away from the workstation or desk.

Having areas where your staff can go to unwind and get away from their PC screen has been shown to provide health benefits and improve productivity, hence many London companies have readily agreed the integration of the break out area into their office layouts.
Very often just having a different perspective or being in a less formal atmosphere can help drive the creative process and help enable the exchange of ideas.

Bringing the Green Inside

In 2017 “Biophilic (love of nature) design” became very popular, in part due to a number of studies which showed that exposure to natural light and being able to view the outdoors from within an office e.g. including plants in office design helps to encompass a connection to nature and as a result health and wellbeing can be greatly improved.

In fact by incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the office environment stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates have been shown to be reduced. At the same time Biophilic design has been shown to increase productivity and creativity. According to the Human Spaces Report the presence of natural elements in the workplace can act as a buffer against the negative impact of job stress and positively impact general well-being. It’s easy to see why so many London office designs are embracing “bringing the outside inside”.

The founder of Internet Gardener Andy Baxter says, ‘Bright, green leafy plants make people happier, and there have been a lot studies recently about how plants naturally improve productivity. We see artificial plants becoming especially popular in 2018 as the trend of plants at the workplace continues. Artificial plants and living walls are ideal long-term solutions for workplaces because they boost morale in the same way as real plants, but they are practically maintenance free”.

Themed Spaces

More and more London office design is incorporating themed spaces. Here are a few of them:

  • The London office of internet search engine Google which has a giant logo in the lobby where the Os of the word Google form doorways. The space is designed with a Brighton beach theme and the interior is filled with beach huts, dodgem cars which are used as work spaces, red telephone booths and giant dice.
  • Office Space in Town, St. Dunstan’s Hill has a nautical theme where the office space overlooks the Thames.
    Splunk’s offices in Paddington, London incorporates graffiti, a tube carriage and a Dr Who demo room.
  • An Alice in Wonderland themed office in Waterloo with chequerboard ceilings, hanging teapot lights and a giant pair of legs in reception.
  • Innocent’s headquarters in their ‘Fruit Towers’ base, in Kensal Rise, north west London, have a fake grass indoor lawn which employees for their tea space. They even have an office Tardis, guarded by a giant inflatable Dalek, where staff can hold meetings.

Of course you don’t have to take themes to this length and how appropriate a theme is will depend on your business. A themed area can simply match your branding or use complimentary colours, artwork and more relaxed furniture to provide office and break out spaces that provide staff with happy, inspired, creative and relaxed work and play areas. Office art can also play an important role.

Greater Use of Technology

With the move towards more collaborative spaces where staff are moving away from workstations and need to be able to work away from the standard desk/computer setup technology has proved to be invaluable in allowing for greater working flexibility. The shrinking size of work devices has also helped in this endeavour enabling work on the go.

Modern Wi-Fi is also a must with reliable high, stable speeds and connections. Without this mobile working would be impossible. Apps which let staff carry out for basic business functions such as printing on-the-go and accessing sensitive company data are also on the rise. With this is also the need for increased security and many companies are starting to use systems such as fingerprint authentication or key cards to identify and log into printers to eliminate the chance of sensitive data being leaked.

The move towards flexible working has also ensured a need for integrated power and charging points in all the areas staff may find themselves working. Furniture with built in power adapters are also becoming more popular. Audio visual equipment with interactive screens such as “touch tables”, digital blackboards and “smart coffee tables” with laptop connectivity are being utilised across work and break out areas in order to improve mobility, productivity and communication.

Colours, Textures and Finishes

Making your office space a place where staff and visitors want to work and visit is a must. The colours used need to evoke creativity and concentration in work areas and soothe and relax in breakout areas where rest and relaxation are vital to allow staff to “recharge”.

We now know that colours play a role in our perception of a space and with the many studies and the various research into why colour matters it is now much easier to put together a colour palette that compliments your business and works for your office space, whatever your objectives.
Interestingly Pantone has released their “colour of the year”, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet. Can you see this colour as part of your London office design colour scheme or next office refurbishment?

Added to your colour choices are a range of potential textures and finishes and the use of elements like wood, stone and metals and you are well on your way to creating a visual, well thought out, productive workspace for 2018.

How We Can Help

JBH Refurbishments have years of experience in London office design. Contact us on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact page today to discuss your project and to arrange a free on site consultation.

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