Workspace trends – Let’s see what 2023 brings along

Companies are now far better equipped to support their people wherever they are working from – home or an offsite location. But if that’s the case, why are companies considering their office designs and making their workplaces resource-rich, engaging environments? 

The work environment has changed so often in the past 18 months that keeping up with expectations, projections and aspirations for what the office should look like has never been more exhausting for an FM. 

Let’s see what 2023 brings along

Despite workplaces seeing less traffic day-to-day, the office has consolidated its value to businesses during the pandemic. According to experts at Oktra, one of the UK’s leading office design and build companies, office design will keep moving forward and progress our ways of working. Among key design considerations that will define workplaces for companies in 2023 Oktra lists sustainability, technology, connectivity as well as neurodiversity, adaptability and flexibility.

Sustainability is becoming a standard

Sustainability has moved higher up the list of many business operations and the same applies to commercial property and office design. There are many ways to build a workspace with sustainability in mind. By incorporating high-efficiency systems, using LED lighting, taking advantage of natural light and passive ventilation, sticking to low-emission materials and re-using or re-purposing furniture, businesses can easily lessen their environmental impact. 

This trend will continue to grow in popularity as it will become a standard that new projects are procured, built and designed in a sustainable way, putting more pressure on contractors and facility managers as well.

Connectivity is a must

With work-from-home (WFH) and hybrid schemes, the new office supports several types of virtual collaboration, enabling staff to stay connected regardless of location. The working environment incorporates private booths with power and data integration, flexible and permanent desk space, breakout and touchdown zones and a range of AV meeting and training rooms.

Employees’ dependence on digital tools is paving the way to adopt even more innovative technologies. The next generation of advanced digital platforms, such as virtual reality and augmented reality will drive a lot of change in 2023 – refers Oktra’s forecast.

Data security may raise trust issues

With remote working becoming the norm for so many companies, there is an expectation for data and analytics to provide businesses with monitoring and tracking capabilities. While this could cause some challenges over trust and accountability, the theory is that analytics can offer insights into user experiences. In the same way, data is recorded in the workplace to help improve space utilisation or energy efficiency, this technology may be able to help close the divide between remote co-workers and create a positive influence on well-being and performance.

Neurodiverse spaces

Neurodiversity refers to the differences in our brain functions and our different approaches when interpreting information. ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia are all examples of neurodiverse conditions. However, neurodiversity is not a new concept in the workplace and it has not always had the backing of employers, the tide is changing. Office designs now provide employees with spaces where they can conduct their work the best, depending on their well-being and psychological needs. In the same way that mothering rooms, prayer rooms and yoga spaces are being added to offices, the workplace is now becoming better equipped for neurodiverse workers.

Smart offices are safe offices

Smart buildings can collect and share data, enabling companies to better understand when and how different spaces are being used. Smart workspace uses digital sensors to monitor and respond to things like occupancy, air quality and natural light levels. Other technology solutions such as desk booking apps will help maintain a smooth flow of staff, ensuring that only one person touches a particular desk each day, and eliminating the possibility of being unable to correctly socially distance.

Hybrid working and flexibility

While the look and feel of the office are not expected to transform drastically, staff will want their time in the office to be more purposeful and productive. With increased transient workers, the office will still be an essential part of business structures so companies will look to maximise their available space to support this new type of working. With remote working remaining with us in some capacity, the staff visiting the office will be looking for the things they can’t access at home. This will push office design to enable greater collaboration and improve staff experience.

Office space will integrate more touch-down and agile workspaces such as benches and booths to accommodate a fluctuating office headcount. Rather than the large open-plan layout of the past, the new settings need to be able to scale up and down with ease. The office will need to support the emerging needs of hybrid and flexible working both in the office and for remote workers. Offices will be redefined as destinations for socialising and community building.


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