The office furniture industry is shifting rapidly to meet the changes in the modern work environment. Traditional office layouts and furniture are falling out of fashion and giving way to open-concept offices, shared workspaces and other, modern office furniture trends.
Brisbane is affected by these changes. So, what it means for the working world?
Shared Office Spaces
There is a growing number of shared office spaces in the world. In 2017, over a million people were working from shared “coworking” office spaces. This number has almost certainly grown a lot in the past two years, especially with more and more people telecommuting and working independently.
According to one small business report, there are 2.4 million self-employed Australians and 8 million small business employees. Many of these self-starters are working out of coworking spaces that offer a simple workspace and office furniture accessories that are shared with other independents or small businesses.
Many small companies today don’t require elaborate, executive office furniture. They need a simple space for their employees to work. Thus, they don’t need an entire floor or office building. In turn, this has encouraged many office building managers to divide floors into smaller units for these micro-business spaces.
Casual Lounges And Work Spaces
Another trend that is affecting office furniture in Brisbane is the desire for a casual lounge area for employees to relax, work, and collaborate. Relaxed and informal were typically workplace adjectives that only applied on Fridays, but company owners quickly realize the benefits of having a stress-free work environment.
When stress is limited in the workplace, employees are more comfortable and feel-at-home in their office surroundings. This leads to better productivity and happier employees. These spaces also create an environment where employees are more prone to communicate, share ideas, and creatively brainstorm together openly.
As a result, the concept of office furniture accessories is changing. Instead of spending extra budget on accessories like storage units, shelves, mousepads, and other small items, businesses are now investing in more extensive accessories, like lounge furniture, to create this relaxed, comfortable space for their employees.
Smarter Office Furniture
Smartphones, smart houses, smart appliances, it was only a matter of time before smart office furniture became a popular trend. Smart technology leverages modern machine learning, AI, and data processing capabilities to learn user behavior and optimize for better efficiency.
When it comes to furniture, this smart technology manifests itself in several ways:
- Office chairs and workstations that monitor how employees are sitting and suggest ways to improve posture and comfort at their desk. A lot of times, employees are not aware that they are sitting incorrectly or positioned too close to their screen or desk. These smart tools keep employees safe and healthy by alerting them to their own bad habits.
- Virtual personal assistants that allow employees to use voice commands to perform routine tasks (turning on lights, dialing a number, and so on). This saves time and keeps employees focused on the job at hand instead of menial tasks.
- App-enabled standing desks that adjust to the user’s desired height and send notifications when it is time to stand. This prevents employees from forgetting to stand and stretch their legs occasionally.
These tools help inject data into making office furniture in Brisbane more productive, comfortable, and hands-free accessible.
Cable Management For The On-The-Go Workforce
Cable management has been an essential part of the office environment for decades now. Once upon a time, having an outlet integrated into the desk itself was a marvel in keeping cords organized and power sources more accessible.
Now, the wireless trend is pushing more cable management innovations. The market for wireless charging devices is exploding. It’s expected to be a $20.97 billion market by 2023. This is being helped by wireless charging devices being built into modern office furniture. Wireless charging is practically a staple in executive office furniture now and will begin to trickle down into other employee workstations.
And, with more employees working on-the-go, there is a push for cable management also to be mobile. One office furniture accessory gaining traction in 2019 is detachable, magnetized cable management tools, which can easily be moved with an employee as they change workstations.
Private Workspace Innovations
There’s no doubt that office layouts are more open today. Buying office furniture in Brisbane is no longer about purchasing cubicle walls to enclose each workstation. Instead, offices are finding better success when the office is left open. This allows for more natural communication and collaboration to take effect, much like in the aforementioned casual lounge spaces.
And it is healthier too! One study that looked at government employees found that workers in open offices were 20% more physically active at work than those in cubicles. A little more moving around can limit strain caused by sitting too long at a desk.
However, there are times when a little privacy is needed for productivity. When employees are working on projects that don’t require creative group-think, the commotion and distractions of an open office can be a detriment. Offices are now looking at ways to balance the open concept with private workspaces.
There are two key innovations in helping this trend. The first is screen dividers, which is not just a fancy name for cubicle walls. Privacy panels are designed to easily attach to nearly any office desk and adjust to the desired height. They effectively drown out the commotion of a busy, open-concept office, but can be removed when privacy is no longer needed.
The other innovation is private workspaces. Having a small conference room or office space available for employees that need a quieter workspace for a particular project can be a significant improvement to this collaborative environment. Investing in executive office furniture for these spaces is wise, as they are used by all employees and for small meetings.
Office furniture is influenced by both technology and the modern work environment. The desire for more comfortable, stress-free workspaces that cater to the contemporary needs of employees is crucial to consider when selecting office furniture in Brisbane.