Nature reigns supreme
Nature will continue to hold sway in 2024 as the benefits of being surrounded by nature are embraced in the workplace. As humans, we are happier and healthier when surrounded by living things, and tend to be more productive and creative too. Investing in biophilia is akin to investing in your people. As well as providing that ‘feel-good’ factor, biophilic design simply makes a space beautiful to look at, and who doesn’t want to work in, or welcome a client to, an office that is easy on the eye.
Hospitality inspired design
The office now competes with the home as a place to get things done – it’s ‘a’ place to work, not ‘the’ place to work. It’s therefore essential to make sure that coming into the office is a positive experience, something that is at least equal to, or surpasses, working from home. Hospitality-inspired design can provide that welcoming feel when an employee arrives at the office, or when they choose to have downtime. A space that is softened with planting and has comfortable seating and thoughtful lighting, can subconsciously reaffirm the decision to come into the office. Think organic shapes, greenery, bright colours and the whiff of good coffee!
Spaces to retreat to
The hustle and bustle of the office can provide a great contrast to the solitude of working from home, but we all need spaces to retreat to. This can be a solo working booth or a shared social space, but it needs to be somewhere we feel like being. Creative construction with planting can create special spaces where people can connect, or enjoy a moment alone. For example, EnviroGrid is a ceiling-mounted grid for hanging plants – it can effectively ‘lower’ the ceiling and give a space a tropical feel. It’s often used to add memorable character to social spaces, but can equally be used alongside our planted Paravert screens to create a more meditative space.
Reconfigurable space is a must
The ‘modular’ approach is going to be big in 2024. As working practices continue to evolve, flexibility in workspace design will become paramount – offices will need to be adapted as businesses grow and change, and spaces will need to be dual-purpose when required. The flexibility that modular design provides can be great for fostering creativity, teamwork and efficiency. Modular planted furniture can be used to create rooms where nature is part of the fabric of the environment – a welcome contrast to the ‘cell-like’ spaces created with old-fashioned upholstered barriers/screens. And when a larger space is required, modular planting can simply be moved and incorporated into a different design concept. Our EnviroZone planters on castors (fully mobile) are easily configurable, facilitating the creation of flexible green zones – they’re also invaluable for reducing noise, improving air quality and introducing an element of privacy.
Sustainability is a point of principle
Without a doubt, sustainability is no longer a buzzword in the world of work. Priority is increasingly being given to those businesses who put sustainability at the heart of their policies. Aspirational green building standards such as SKA and WELL will become increasingly attractive to prospective employees and taken as proof of commitment to both a healthy workforce and healthy planet. Avoiding waste and choosing eco-friendly and sustainable materials as a matter of course will become part of talent attraction and retention as individuals become increasingly concerned with protecting the planet.
Encourage movement and interaction
Whatever space employees choose to be productive in, there will be more emphasis on choice and moving between different spaces in 2024. It’s all too easy to spend the whole day sitting at a desk trying to be productive, when in reality, moving to a different type of space can have a ‘reset’ effect on the brain, improving overall productivity and creativity. Movement also means more interaction with colleagues – providing spaces with an element of fun and movement, such as a games area, can encourage people to step away from their desks.
Return of the office desk
Whilst there is ever more emphasis on having a variety of flexible and collaborative working spaces in the office, the appeal of the office desk is enduring, and for many of us, the place we go when we really need to produce the goods! This needn’t be an unpleasant experience though – gone are the days of barren banks of noisy desks. With noise-reducing planting used as subtle screening, a desk can be a space where more focused work can take place, creating a pleasant and private place to really grind the brain cells!
The reality of the new workspace is that, for maximum productivity, it can no longer be a one-size-fits-all. We all work better in pleasant environments, and if we can match the environment to our preferred way of working and the task at hand, all the better. Flexibility will be key as we move forward, as well as a conscious effort to create special moments in the office. We have lots of ideas on how planting design can help do this, so do give us a ring if you’d like to explore these concepts!