The new year is coming and with it comes a new series of office trends that will influence decisions about how to organize your office, which furniture you should buy and how you can use solutions like panel extenders for easy, affordable ways to transform your workplace.
One of the things we find fascinating about the world of office furniture and organization is how these trends change from year to year and decade to decade.
For example, open offices are a well-known office environment, but in terms of trends, the open office is old news.
We diligently read the popular business websites to keep track of emerging trends and office concepts that are in decline. Granted, panel extenders are a timeless accessory. However, our interest in office organization goes beyond our products; we like to know the entire landscape of what’s happening.
So, when we came across a recent Inc.com article about 2018’s biggest office trend, we were excited.
Contributor Jeff Pochepan put forth the following observation: Adding home-like features to today’s offices is the focus of this upcoming year. The concept is known as “close to home”.
What Is “Close to Home” Design?
When we talk about this new design trend known as “close to home”, we’re talking about creating workplaces that make employees feel comfortable, as if they’re in their own home.
“It’s the simple idea of making your office feel more like home, a place where employees are so comfortable, they have no trouble putting in longer hours or they feel less trapped by their surroundings,” Pochepan wrote. “Employers are figuring out new and fun ways to entice people into their corporate families and keep their existing workers happy for the duration they spend at work.”
A Good Example of Close-to-Home
This design concept affects different areas of the office in unique ways. For example, Pochepan points out, Jessica Alba’s Honest offices.
Alba’s goal was to make the office reflect her home, according to an April 2017 profile in Architectural Digest.
“The office looks very much like my home. I like vintage and some new things; I like luxe fabrics, but I don’t care about them being designer necessarily,” Alba told the magazine. “I want everything to feel cozy. I want things you can sit on and put your feet on. And I wanted that same vibe in the office.”
Creating a Workplace of Collaboration
Close to Home isn’t just about making an office look like a home. The comfortability this design trend brings is intended to coax creativity out of employees who, in theory, feel at ease enough to ruminate over new ideas and concepts.
Pochepan says as much in his exposition of 2018’s hottest office organization philosophy.
“People are more likely to share their sparks of creativity — even if not fully formed and ready for presentation — with their colleagues in an environment where they feel relaxed and unhurried, and this, in turn, gives rise to collaborating on those ideas to see them from conception to reality together,” he wrote.
Adding a Sense of Home to Your Office
This popular office trend isn’t one that takes a lot of extra money to implement. Though it would be nice to have a break-room kitchen that resembles something you’d find in a house, there are little things, Pochepan says, that can be done to make your office feel like home.
Here are a few examples of things you can implement in your office; some are more practical than others:
- Yoga rooms
- Designated food truck days
- Conversation areas with couches
- Floor amps for lighting instead of fluorescent lighting
- Fun outdoor patio furniture
These suggestions may seem trite, but they’re the kind of small improvements that employees notice. Ideally, you’d be able to redesign your entire office — or even move into a new space and start over. Either way, the Close to Home movement is just as much a mentality about the workplace as it is a design trend for 2018.
“When laughter rings through a room, it puts people at ease and work becomes less effort and more engaging,” Pochepan wrote. “If your people know they can work in a place where kicking their feet up is not only allowed, it’s encouraged, they won’t have to go in to work every day, they’ll want to.”