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Workspace Design Trends in 2023

 

Workspace Design and Trends in 2023:

3 Office Design Themes To Look Forward To In The Coming Year

As 2022 comes to a close, hybrid work has gone from cautious experiment to a matter of fact. Covid-19 forced flexible work arrangements on almost everyone, and the impact has been deeply and widely felt.

48% of all companies worldwide now have distributed workforces, compared to 30% pre-pandemic, Statista reported. Meanwhile, the Institute of Policy Studies found almost half of all employees want flexible work arrangements to be the new norm in Singapore.

The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions has seen the office re-emerge as the locus of work for many organisations again. However, its role has been permanently disrupted by the pandemic.

In Microsoft’s survey of 31,000 people across 31 countries, over a third (38%) of hybrid employees reported their biggest challenge is not knowing when and why to come into the office.

The brief for business leaders managing a hybrid workforce is, therefore, clear: define the purpose of in-person collaboration, create team agreements on when to come together face-to-face, define hybrid meeting etiquette, and re-think the role of space in supporting the new models of collaboration.

Colourful discussion pods

Colourful discussion pods form a meeting neighbourhood at the JustCo centre at The Centrepoint,

 

Towards More Human-centric Office Design

Sylvia Bay, JustCo’s Vice President and Senior Director (Design), Workspace, believes that a human-centric design of the office space is critical to drawing people back to the office again.

We’re asking people to come into offices, but why should they if the office doesn’t support how they work and connect? We need workspaces to be flexible enough to cover a range of individual and team modes for every employee.

Be it quiet zones for focused work, collaboration areas that enhance discussion and participation, or a social nexus for building social capital, so much of the work we do at the office today isn’t solo – it requires working with others. As such, we’re designing workspaces that reflect an understanding of how people work today and tomorrow.

Nearby Lumpini Park frames a couple of neighbourhoods for discussions and relaxation at the JustCo centre at Silom Edge

“So much of the work we do at the office today isn’t solo, it requires working with others.
We’re designing workspaces that reflect an understanding of how people work today and tomorrow.”

– Sylvia Bay, Vice President and Senior Director (Design) of Workspace, JustCo Global

Office design trends in Singapore, and the world are constantly evolving. Thanks to new aesthetics, ways of working, as well as research,  there is always a fresh take on designs of the commercial workspace. So what are some of the innovations in workspace design that we can look forward to in 2023? 

Here are three office designs we think you should keep a lookout for:

 

The Hotelification of the Work Place

Colleagues enjoying coffee in the office

The JustCo centre at 447 Collins St brings luxurious cafe fittings to its office pantries

As a consequence of pandemic-induced Work From Home, many employees not only developed a taste for working in comfortable and non-sterile environments, they also began to value health and wellbeing over work.

Highly sought-after talent are making deliberate choices to step into the office; therefore their workspace needs to be designed as a destination that conveys  warmth and hospitality.

You can also expect to see an increasing number of companies invest in amenities that create warm, welcoming environments by drawing inspiration from bars, cafes, hotels, homes, and even spas.

Going beyond soothing colour palettes and visual cues, hotelified offices will also incorporate scents and sounds to stimulate a range of moods and feelings across different office settings – from vibrance and upbeat energy in the collaboration spaces, to calm and focus in the quiet zones.

Sleep pods in an office

The JustCo centre at The Centrepoint has a nap room where members can recharge in the middle of long shifts

But workplace designers aren’t simply theming these spaces – it’s  also about animating them. By programming spaces with curated hospitality experiences, companies can take on a more active role in looking after the well-being of both employees and guests.

Imagine this: a meditation suite where clients and employees can go to recharge themselves in between meetings, under expert guided meditation. Or perhaps stepping into a café-styled desk lounge with a barista preparing your aromatic and robust cup of coffee, just the way you like it.

Women chatting in a coworking space

In fact, JustCo already offers these elevated experiences for members. The JustCo centre at 15 William Street in Melbourne has a full-fledged café where members can enjoy the sounds and aroma of freshly-roasted beans transforming into their special brew while they enjoy beautiful skyline views across the city and Yarra river.

“Rice Sommelier” Kubota-san lovingly prepares Omusubi rice balls for members at the centre at Shibuya

Meanwhile, the JustCo centres in Tokyo practice JustGohan breakfasts, where a renowned “rice sommelier” serves nutritionally-rich and heartful Omusubi (traditional Japanese rice balls) to busy members who frequently skip meals.

 

Biophilic Design

Wooden desk in office

The beautiful grain on the desks at JustCo’s centre at UIC Building offer a lovely natural accent in the office

 

Interest is also growing in biophilic design to foster physiological, psychological, and cognitive benefits in the office. Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm coined the term “Biophilia” around the idea that humans are genetically coded to thrive in natural settings because they evolved in nature and, therefore, should occupy spaces that have direct and indirect connections to the natural world.

For example, it has been widely reported that employees who work in offices with access to natural light sleep an average of 46 minutes longer than those who work without natural lighting.

Biophilic strategies have already infused hospitality and home aesthetics, and workplace planners have also begun to incorporate natural light, ventilation, materials, flora, and fauna into office designs. Sylvia points out, “Especially following the pandemic, organisations are bringing nature into their internal spaces, as they recognise this offers opportunities to improve occupants’ health and well-being and provide respite from the density of the urban environment. We turned to biophilic design principles as our centres evolved over time in the past few years. We want to create the most desirable working environments filled with nature-inspired spaces that bring our members into the centre and help them engage with each other and their surroundings.”

Live plants help to build a sense of nature at a productivity pod at the JustCo centre at GranTokyo South Tower

The new JustCo centre at International Plaza is a good example of biophilia in the workplace. Designed as a green oasis within Singapore’s high-dense CBD, live plants flourish all across 50,000 square feet of space, providing a welcome relief to the sterile urban environment outside. A giant Dieffenbachia tree greets members and guests at the reception area, inviting them to step into the lush tropical garden within.

Designers even introduced a native green moss Reindeer Moss (Cladonia Rangiferina), into the landscaping to enhance the connection with nature. An upshot of all this greenery is the natural filtration of carbon dioxide for the 180 studios at the centre.

 

Check out the biophilic elements at International Plaza!

Book A Tour to the centre here


Micro Spaces and Neighbourhoods

Phone booth with discussion areas

Another trend set to take over 2023 is the rise of Micro Spaces. Open floor plans have diminished in appeal, especially over the pandemic. In their place, a design consciousness aimed at prioritising individual flexibility and privacy in the workspace has gained ground, fuelled in part by the surge of  the popularity of co-working..

When designing for micro spaces, separate zones for focused work, collaboration and recreation are clearly distinct and with boundaries in place. . The use of hot desks and other flexible furniture is used to help reduce the reliance on fixed workstations, and therefore open up room to organise more areas imaginatively around “neighbourhoods”.

These “neighbourhoods” might be set up in a conventional organisation around job roles and departments. In this example, a self-contained Marketing neighbourhood would include a few hot desks surrounding a whiteboard for brainstorming and visualisation. A focus area as well as phone booths would be within easy reach.

Since many tech companies are now organised around “tribes” of cross-functional mini-teams, neighbourhoods can help to cluster them together for stronger face-to-face collaboration while maintaining their access to other shared amenities.

The chief benefit of micro spaces is the lowering of desk density. As dedicated workstations are removed from the office plan, the “sea of desks” is optically transformed into oases of productivity.

Sylvia adds: “Micro spaces and neighbourhoods are seamless working environments that look great on the eye. They promote collaboration among employees while simultaneously accommodating their unique work styles.

Not only do they foster productivity, but they also improve the well-being of individuals. A hotelified office with well-planned neighbourhoods is a great advertisement for some of the  brightest talents today.”

Watch These Office Designs Come To Life At JustCo

The office promises to feel more comfortable and natural in the coming year, with planners paying close attention to individual work styles and personal wellbeing.

For a glimpse of how these work trends and office designs might transform your workspacebook a tour at your preferred JustCo location in your city today.

A hotelified office with well-planned neighbourhoods is a great advertisement for the best and brightest talent today.”

– Sylvia Bay, Vice President and Senior Director (Design) of Workspace, JustCo Global

Book A Tour to any of our centre here