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Ten Workplace Trends Seen In Office Furniture

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, FacilityBlog, Featured Post, Interiors, Topics

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Published on July 16, 2013 with No Comments

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Office and school furniture manufacturer, distributor, and wholesaler OFM has identified 10 workplace trends that can be seen in today’s office furniture. The way desks, chairs, cubicles, and other furniture have changed in recent years tells important things about broader shifts in how we work.

Below are 10 workplace trends shown in office furniture:  

1. Businesses emphasize collaboration.

Workplaces are becoming flatter, with less hierarchy and more emphasis on working together. As a result, office furniture is being designed for more casual collaboration, like modular desks that can be arranged and rearranged in a number of different configurations.

2. Everyone is expected to get their hands dirty.

CEOs no longer rely on a secretary for their grunt work. Executives are more hands on, answering e-mails and checking their tablets. As a result, executive chairs are now being designed with tuck-away tablets for CEOs to work on their iPads and smart phones.

3. You’re always working. 

Whether you are on a break, eating lunch, or waiting in a lobby, you need to be able to answer a call, check your e-mail, or browse the Internet. As a result, comfortable seating options with arm rests are designed for even the break room.

4. Workplaces are more creative. 

In the old days, companies and organizations were focused on efficiency. With so many American businesses working on intellectual property, workplaces are now designed to encourage creativity. That means office furniture is becoming more colorful with more artistic options.

5. Everyone is using lots of different kinds of technology.

In the past, you might have had just a computer on your desk. Today, you’re liable to be using a computer, a tablet, and a smart phone, sometimes all at the same time. Many office desks are now designed with two tabletop grommets to keep all your tech wires organized and out of the way.

6. Companies are trying to be more spontaneous.

Businesses no longer need just a set of office chairs for a group meeting. They need seating that can be configured on a fly for an ad hoc group of employees from different departments working on a project. That means office furniture needs to have more than one purpose, like chairs that have a swivel tablet for meetings that can be stowed when not in use (this makes the chair an option in other settings too).

7. Each worker is more important. 

Companies today are smaller, meaning each individual employee is more important. Today’s managers work harder to prevent employees from leaving, and one way they do this is by offering a comfortable work environment. As a result, office chairs for the everyday employee are now made from things like molded form soft seating that is ergonomically designed.

8. Everyone is working longer hours.

The days of 9-to-5 with an hour for lunch and three breaks are in the past. Today, chairs need to be designed with ergonomics in mind to allow workers to sit in them for long periods of time. That means office chairs are being designed for more than eight hours of use per day and come with as many as 16 different ergonomic configurations for customization.

9. Companies want to show they value the environment.

Companies are working to show that they care about the environment regardless of the industry. Furniture with low chemical emissions and made from recyclable material is one way to show this corporate value. As a result, office furniture that is Greenguard certified is becoming popular with workplaces that want to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.

10. More people are working from home. 

With an increasing number of companies allowing employees to work from remote locations, more people are working from their home office, which means there is a greater need for office furniture designed for home use, many times to fit smaller spaces. There are now more options than ever to design a home office that is stylish, yet efficient and comfortable.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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