The office is becoming more like home and vice versa.  Many workers are able to work remote at least part of the time and sometimes that means working at home.  21st century offices feature cafés, lounge areas, large screen viewing or gaming set-ups, even nap pods.  And the design of the furnishings has a more residential feel.  Softer seating with pillows, reclining lounges, display storage, and funky tables are now more common as are fabrics and colors that evoke a more residential feel.  In the past two years three of the major contract furniture companies have acquired residential lines – Haworth bought Poltrona Frau, Knoll purchased Holly Hunt and Herman Miller acquired Design Within Reach.  These major investments confirm that the blurring of the lines between office and home, or at least between office and café, are here to stay.

The move to less hierarchical organizations continues in full force.  Companies are looking for a more fluid style of managing their most important resource – the talent, energy and expertise of their workers.  Along with this accelerating trend is one toward less narrow specialization of knowledge workers.  The new model for the digital economy seems to be small entrepreneurial groups that tackle an entire project like the agile work teams at Cornell Tech.

Employee engagement continues to be the holy grail for leading organizations. The benefits of engaged employees include increased productivity, reduced absence, creativity and are highly valued by companies looking to excel.  A healthy workplace that supports and encourages wellbeing is a priority for smart companies.  One example is the prevalence of sit-to-stand worksurfaces from every manufacturer.

Color trends are all over the map for 2015.  Sherwin Williams opted for Coral Reef, Benjamin Moore for Guilford Green and Pantone for Marsala.  None are too compelling so take your choice.

Tech trends include more cloud based storage and computing and more mobile everything.  These are great facilitators for working from anywhere at any time.   Of course, mobile devices also enable everyone to post their own content 24/7 on their Instagram feeds and YouTube channels.  We all know this can be too much of a good thing.

The economy is rebounding and most businesses are optimistic about a good year in 2015.  Here’s hoping!

Coffee bar in break area for architectural firm

Coffee bar in break area for architectural firm

 

Typical design for collaboration focused floorpolan

Typical design for collaboration focused floorpolan

 

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