It’s not your fault–you were just following the trends. But if your office has any of the design elements on the wrong side of this list, it might be time to consider mixing it up. Here’s what the experts say is in and what’s out in 2018.
Out: Open-office plan
In: Private desks and separate areas for group work
Long rows of open-air desks might have been all the rage half a decade ago. But as Apple learned the hard way, employees don’t actually like it. “I think people have realized,” says David Galullo, CEO of the design agency Rapt Studio, “that if collaboration is important to the way people work at your business, collaboration will happen. You don’t need to sacrifice all sense of privacy and acoustics for it.”
Related: As the stigma of being separated from their staff fades, bosses are beginning to take offices again. “The open office,” declares R&A Design co-founder Christian Robert, “is dead.”
Out: Rectangular meeting rooms
In: Hexagonal meeting rooms
If four sides are good, six sides are better. The problem with rectangles, says Robert, is they’re inherently hierarchical; there’s always going to be a “front” and a “back.” A hexagonal room levels the playing field. As an added benefit, you’ll be able to see everyone instead of only those sitting across from you. And materials placed on the walls will be more visible to everyone.
Out: Painted walls and graffiti
In: Textures and mirrors
Can’t decide on a color scheme? Skip the color altogether and focus on textures instead. Brick, wood, and even acoustic screens can help mix things up from room to room. Marble can create a retro vibe. And mirrors can keep things fresh when placed in seemingly random locations–even on ceilings. “It’s this notion of disorienting your view a little bit and expanding the space,” Robert says.
Out: Low-tech conference rooms
In: Tricked-out conference rooms
More and more employees are working remotely. Looping them into a video conference shouldn’t take more than a few clicks. If you’re building a new meeting room, equip it with cameras, speakers, and microphones that can be booted up without the need of extra equipment. And while you’re at it, give your employees the power to book the room with just a few clicks by installing a wall-mounted tablet right outside.
Out: Bright colors everywhere
In: Pops of color
A certain Silicon Valley search giant might have helped launch a primary color streak, but that theme is giving way to something more subtle. “It’s all about accents,” Robert says. “Little pops of color.” The brighter the color, the smaller its area should be. Instead of painting a door, try a neon color for the handle. Furniture can be a neutral shade, but then decorate it with colorful throw pillows. “You can have loud moments,” Robert says, “without making it loud overall.”
Out: Giving employees everything they need
In: Letting employees have their fun at home
Sleep pods and Ping-Pong tables are fun, but they can send the message that your employees are expected to stick around all day. Provide the added touches that make your office a pleasant place to be–snacks, an espresso bar–but don’t feel the need to completely combine work and play. “The tech sector is growing up,” says Galullo. “As it does, and as it has a family and a life outside of the office, it becomes less important that they get every aspect of their social life given to them in the work space.”
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