Four Office Trends to Watch in 2019

In an increasingly uncertain and chaotic world, the best fix is keeping things simple. This has led to two big workplace trends: minimalist workspaces and multifunctional furniture. We’re also seeing a continuation of the shift towards health and wellness, both for humans and for the environment. Eco-chic spaces are continuing to grow in popularity, as are flexible work conditions that allow employees to take their work anywhere, resulting in a continued increase in employees who predominantly work from home.

Here are the four office trends to watch in 2019:


1. Minimalism

Minimalism is gaining momentum both as a lifestyle and as an aesthetic. Cluttered home and office spaces that are crammed with hardly-used objections often contribute to stress and unhappiness. These days, organization isn’t just reserved for spring cleaning: many offices are opting for a simple and streamlined aesthetic that has been shown to contribute to better focus at work. Let’s face it: having more stuff doesn’t make you cooler; it just means more mess. Aesthetic, sleek styles, smooth lines, basic geometrical shapes, and single- toned fabrics (either bold or neutral) are the way to go for an office space that is immediately pleasing to the eye—and the psyche!


2. Multifunctional Furniture

Gone are the days of the single-use item. Rather than the 20th century trend of having dozens of highly specialized items, the 2019 trend is for items that serve multiple purposes, and do so without compromising quality, performance, and comfort. Multifunctional furniture is the new ‘it’ item for keeping home life simple and improving an object’s ease of use. We’re seeing couches and chairs with built in retractable side-tables, padded stools that convert to coffee tables, and designs that form a mélange of two different styles, such as chairs with padded, reclining backs but also pneumatic height adjustment and swivel legs, meaning they serve as both lounge and task chairs. Modular and convertible seating are also huge, continuing their prevalence from 2018. This year, it’s all about creating spaces and investing in furniture items that are real workhorses: serving multiple purposes, all day long.


3. Office Green Space

No, we don’t just mean having a nicely mowed front lawn or a potted plant beside your desk. The new trend in office eco-chic is for dedicated green spaces (almost like little indoor forests or greenhouses) that provide a place for employees to meet, work, or take a break. Studies have shown that being immersed in greenery has a direct and positive effect on human happiness. Employers are taking this research to heart by cultivating places where employees can meet that feel like an outdoor escape, even in the dead of winter. It’s like meeting in the park, but a few feet from your desk. Many workspaces are also finding ways to incorporate eco elements in their décor and brand work, such as company logos cut into patches of ivy or moss. This is an office trend that is sure to only increase in popularity and demand as 2019 goes on, so it’s one to watch!


4. Working from Home

In the modern age of Skype meetings and virtual reality headsets, more and more workplaces are turning to a work from home model—or at least offering employees the flexibility to work from home many days a week. Research on the subject has been overwhelmingly positive. A study by James Bloom of Stanford showed that employees perform 13% better when they work from home, since they are free from the distractions that can come with office spaces, they are comfortable, and they are more likely to work a full shift—versus coming in late due to traffic, leaving early to greet the cable guy, or taking long lunches. The study also showed a reduction in employee stress levels, an increase in worker satisfaction, and a reduction in sick days (probably due to less exposure to those office and transit germs). In following this trend, many offices are shifting completely towards a work from home model, where there is no central office. However, there are still benefits to offices, particularly in their function as meeting spaces where company culture gets created, where ideas spring from personal interactions, and where social bonds and networks can be formed. Research has shown that one or two ‘in office’ days are the best strategy for maintaining employee cohesion and the social culture of work, with regular-team building events coming in close second. This is a trend that will continue to shift as technology improves and the focus on health and wellness continues.

Read this article and more in our February 2019 newsletter