How to design an office space? A comfortable and inspiring office environment that meets the demands of modern work is essential for productivity, your bottom line, and employee happiness. The ideal office design should use the best office colors, ergonomic design, and right furniture (this is for indoor and outdoor office space).

But what are the best corporate office design ideas for our workplaces, especially when the way we work constantly seems in flux these days? Our top four business office ideas illustrate that today’s office design should emphasize WFH-like and cozy elements, natural lighting, and ergonomics while promoting flexibility.

Adapting Your Office Design to Recent Trends

Regardless of what corporate office interior design ideas inspire you most, you’ll need to adapt your plan so that employees feel supported in their work. If your chosen design doesn’t mesh with the people inhabiting the space and encourage their productivity and satisfaction, the details won’t matter.

And lately, we've seen a resurgence in discussions over worker expectations, emphasizing both well-being and a work-life balance. Having the opportunity to work from the comfort of one’s own home and generally being away from office settings has led to employees becoming more vocal about their workspace preferences.

But is this really as new as people thought?

Harvard Business Review suggests not. They argue that the shifting office dynamics characterizing today’s workers and workspaces have been steadily growing for some time, and a renewed focus on employees’ mental and physical health was simply accelerated by the last few years of tumultuousness.1

Rather than forcing employees back into the same old cubicles, businesses should look to recent trends and lessons learned through work-from-home (WFH) arrangements. That way, they can welcome hybrid and returning employees into a workplace that meets their needs, wants, and desires while fostering productivity.

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Flexible Office Interior Design (and Meeting Flexible Work Arrangements)

Open floor plans have been touted for quite some time for their emphasis on boosting collaboration, communication, and employees’ company and team investment. However, there have also been numerous studies showing how these office layouts can inhibit productivity, privacy for communications, and job satisfaction.2

But that doesn’t mean open floor plans are inherently right or wrong. The issues arise when workers have no other options available.

So, businesses bringing people back on-site should instead approach their corporate space setups with flexibility in mind. You’ll want to dedicate specific areas of your corporate office to encourage collaboration through a collective workspace while also creating productivity-prioritizing areas offering quiet and privacy. And those private areas should embrace elements of home-like coziness people have adjusted to.

However, if your business plans to accommodate hybrid working arrangements (i.e., partially WFH, partially in-office), you might want to dedicate most of the space to an open floor plan:

  • When employees need to hunker down and focus on their productivity, they can choose to stay home and communicate over digital platforms as needed.
  • When participating in meetings, collaborating as a team, or simply looking to enjoy the social dynamics a lively and thriving office provides, they can commute to your open office.

Top 4 Corporate Office Design Ideas

Keeping flexibility in mind, here are our top four corporate office setup ideas to inspire your next workplace design or redesign.

#1 Embrace “Home-Like” Designs for Private Areas

Enough employees have indulged in swapping their cubicles for couches and work slacks for sweatpants, that workplace comfort has become a priority. Despite many companies bringing employees back to the office, the desire for WFH arrangements remains strong—so much so that:

  • Demand for these remote, hybrid, and WFH roles is 700% higher than for in-office positions.3
  • Per a 2022 PEW Research Center survey of over 10,000 respondents, 76% stated they prefer working from home, and 64% report a better work-life balance when doing so.4
  • A recent McKinsey study revealed that more than 25% of survey respondents said that they would consider switching employers if their organization returned to fully on-site work.5

Unfortunately, not every business can accommodate WFH or hybrid arrangements. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose employees or fall behind on recruiting top talent because of it. Instead, try meeting them halfway by emphasizing comfort and coziness in the quiet spaces you make available to them:

  • Outfit productivity-intensive areas with cushy seats or couches and coffee tables reminiscent of your employees’ living room comforts.
  • Provide adjustable or dimmable lighting, so people can escape the harshness of fluorescents overhead—just be sure to make natural light available as well.
  • Replace desktops with laptops that encourage moveability, so people can enjoy these productivity-encouraging spots as they choose.

In short, design your corporate office similarly to a home office (or at least follow some home office ideas). If you’re worried about your employees becoming too relaxed in a home-like environment, you shouldn’t be. Per the same McKinsey study cited above, WFH has demonstrated a strong association with increased productivity.5

#2 Expand Relaxed Atmospheres Into Communal Areas

The rise of remote work saw employees being productive in more spaces than just their homes. Many workers adapted to spending some of their clocked-in time at local cafes, neighborhood parks, and other collaborative spaces instead.

So, modern corporate offices should take cues from the public sphere. Set aside some areas—particularly a lounge area and office kitchens or cafeterias—and design them to feel like they aren’t actually in an office building. You can even transform your office break room!

For example, this can be accomplished by replacing the cramped, tucked-away office kitchen (who microwaved fish for lunch!?) with a coffee shop-inspired lounge area. Alternatively, if your location can support it, set up a patio area with outside seating that allows employees to catch a breath of fresh air and the health benefits of sunshine and natural lighting.6

#3 Bring In Light and Air

Of course, there’s no reason you can’t invite the benefits of getting outside into your workplace as well.

Nature-based, or “biophilic design,” focuses on bringing elements of a natural environment into the workspace through plants and similar design characteristics.7 And per a survey of 1,600 employees conducted by Future Workplace, the two of the most important natural elements to employees are:8

  • Air quality – Additional studies cited in Future Workplace’s report showed productivity improved by 8-11% with improved air quality, while their survey results revealed:
  • 75% of employees don’t consider their workplace’s air quality to be optimal for productivity.
  • 50% of employees reported feeling sleepier at work, and 33% of respondents suffer from allergy-like symptoms (e.g., irritated eyes and throat) due to poor air quality.
  • Natural light – Natural light has a positive impact on employee wellness—helping workers reduce the frequency and effects of eye strain, headaches, and moodiness.9 According to Future Workplace:
  • 40% of survey respondents believe they should be able to look outside while at work.
  • 33% regard comfortable lighting as an important factor in their day-to-day wellness.

And some employers might be surprised by the “workplace wellness perks” that air and light quality outranked:

  • Water quality
  • Temperature comfort
  • Noise and acoustics
  • Connection to nature
  • Nutritional food choices
  • Gym and fitness facilities

Any office design you choose should prioritize furniture selection and positioning that foster comfortable airflow and help bring in more natural light.

#4 Ergonomic Office Layout

Get ready to break up with your chiropractor. Offices designed with ergonomics in mind improve the long-term health of employees and, in the short term, decrease daily fatigue and frustration by helping lessen stress and correct posture.10

Ergonomic offices incorporate:

  • Ergonomic chairs Ergonomic chairs are worth the investment; they go a long way toward improving your employees' health and happiness. Providing adjustable chairs that correct posture, provide lumbar support, and have adjustable heights and armrests results in a slew of benefits—such as decreasing backaches, neck pain, and headaches.11
  • Standing options – Standing desks and knowing how tall your desk should be have been shown to result in some health benefits for workers—like reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.12 Height-adjustable desks also provide employees more leeway with setting up their workspaces and throughout the day. This can help workers stay stimulated, improving their productivity and focus by keeping them active. Standing stools are also a great option.
  • Reachable resources – Desktops often become cluttered, but if employees place the items they regularly use throughout the day out of arms’ length, they’ll need to reach for them. This can place additional strain on their shoulders, neck, and spine. Instead, consider more efficient desk configurations or how to position storage like pedestals and overhead options within easy reach.

Ergonomics has less to do with the office’s aesthetic design and more with ensuring that its functionality supports your employees. Whichever corporate office setup ideas you prefer, you should seek to incorporate ergonomics into the plan.

Investing in your employee’s and the furniture they rely on daily demonstrates that you prioritize their well-being and provides an environment conducive to productivity.

Create an Office Layout that Meets Your Employees

Gone are the days of anesthetized offices. Modern corporate office ideas are warmer, homier, happier, and designed to evoke those feelings from their employees. And the benefits are obvious—happier, healthier employees are more likely to be productive, directly improving your business’s bottom line.

When you’re redesigning your private offices, consider working with Juniper Furniture for more corporate office design ideas. At Juniper, we understand how people work, and we design our office furniture to support them. Our free design services can also simplify any office overhaul you might consider.

Take a look at our catalog today and take a step closer to a optimized, productive office space.


Sources:

  1. Harvard Business Review. Design an Office that People Want to Come Back To. https://hbr.org/2022/01/design-an-office-that-people-want-to-come-back-to
  2. Houston Chronicle. What Are Advantages & Disadvantages of an Open-Plan Office Space? https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-openplan-office-space-80288.html
  3. CNBC. Remote and hybrid jobs are attracting 7 times more applicants than in-person roles. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/04/flexible-jobs-are-attracting-7-times-more-applicants-than-in-person-jobs.html
  4. PEW Research Center. COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Reshape Work in America. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/02/16/covid-19-pandemic-continues-to-reshape-work-in-america/
  5. McKinsey & Company. What employees are saying about the future of remote work. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work
  6. Forbes. New Study: Air Quality And Natural Light Have The Biggest Impact On Employee Well-Being. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2019/08/13/new-study-air-quality-and-natural-light-have-the-biggest-impact-on-employee-well-being/?sh=2511fe181fe5
  7. Bring Nature Indoors. How to Incorporate Biophilic Design in Your Office: 5 Simple Steps. https://www.bringnatureindoors.com/how-to-incorporate-biophilic-design-in-your-office-5-simple-steps/
  8. Future Workplace. Future workplace wellness study. https://view.com/sites/default/files/documents/workplace-wellness-study.pdf
  9. HMC Architects. The Benefits of Natural Light in Office Spaces: Lighting Design for Increased Employee Satisfaction. https://hmcarchitects.com/news/the-benefits-of-natural-light-in-office-spaces-lighting-design-for-increased-employee-satisfaction-2019-03-27/
  10. NY Times. 7 Things You Need for an Ergonomically Correct Workstation. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/7-things-you-need-for-an-ergonomically-correct-workstation/
  11. Mayo Clinic. Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
  12. Harvard Health Publishing. The truth behind standing desks. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-truth-behind-standing-desks-2016092310264