Three trends to affect office design of the future

Andrew Sibley

Designing offices is not just about following trends but now requires anticipating future trends in technology to influence the interiors of the future.

Andrew Sibley, regional sales and marketing director, Desso said he believes there are three emerging factors, and said:

Demographics

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“Although there are marked differences worldwide, there is the challenge of an ageing population, with age and disability legislation giving them greater rights. Indeed, in the current downturn, many older people may have no option but to defer retirement. In the USA in 2009, there were 39.6 million people over the age of 65; by 2030, there will be 72.1 million. That’s going to be reflected in an ageing workforce and will have an impact on office design – from creating soft seating areas to giving people an ergonomic break from sitting at a desk to sit-stand desks that can be used either standing or sitting.”

Technological Change “The pace of technological development shows no sign of slowing and modern wire-free information systems are radically changing how we work. With next-generation applications and technologies on the horizon, the concept of the office is bound to be an evolving one – as more and more of us opt to work from home, at least for periods in the week, using the office as a transient place to meet ‘virtual’ colleagues.”

Climate Change “Offices are responsible for some 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, and building regulations around the world are targeting greater sustainability. That is already having a considerable impact on the use of materials used in building construction and fit-out and how offices are organized to better use green energies and incorporate recycling programs. As the green agenda evolves, it will also impact on space utilization – with companies adopting more flexible employment practices to further reduce carbon footprints.”

According to Sibley, these trends bring together technologists, architects, interior designers and FM and HR managers in a different and collaborative way.

“It’s no longer simply about understanding the emerging technologies, but about involving everyone in an evolving design journey to create work environments in which people are put first,” he added.

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