Office Furniture Trends 2022: What’s New in Commercial Office Furniture

Stylex Seating

Over the last decade we’ve seen tremendous changes in our offices and how we work — especially within the last couple of years. Office furniture trends of 2022 are no doubt a reflection of these important changes.  As we recover from a world pandemic, our schedules are less structured, our interactions more organic and our technology more advanced. Innovations in office furniture have allowed us to complete our tasks much faster and be more mobile at work.

From the way we complete our daily tasks to how we meet and share ideas – our offices are changing in remarkable and exciting ways.  As we review 2022’s office furniture trends, let’s ask ourselves, “How did we get to here today? And what do we have to look forward to?”

Workstations

Workstations Then
Photo: The Open Office Plan Setup

THEN: Open-plan benching systems have been the go-to workstations ever since their revival in the early 2010s. Designer Frederick Taylor pioneered the idea of the open office back in the early 1900s, claiming it was the secret to productivity. And over the last decade or so, they’ve regained much popularity especially among health-conscious millennials who found cubicles to be somewhat oppressive and confining.  Open-plan benching systems, on the other hand, promoted open communication and collaboration, and kept productivity in mind while fostering team camaraderie and employee wellbeing.  They also helped ease high costs of construction, utilities and office equipment, because they’re typically modular and can be set up and reconfigured much more easily in huge open spaces without having to partition areas by building walls.  The open-plan set-up is not without its drawbacks, however.  They can be noisy and have been criticized for imposing too much distraction to workers, making it difficult for focused individual work.

NOW: To remedy the shortcomings of open-plan benching systems, semi-private workstations are now taking center stage as the optimized solution for the open office.  Providing just enough barriers and partitions, they are not as severely closed-off as traditional cubicles.  They work better to offer needed quiet and privacy while still open enough to facilitate collaboration, interaction and exchange of ideas.  Moreover, to avoid costs of having to implement entirely new workstations, many offices are now retrofitting their existing open-plan benching systems to be more semi-private, by attaching raised panels or adding storage bins and cabinets, as well as glass or plexiglass dividers.  With improved separation between workers, this promoted better social distancing and sanitation practices in the workplace, especially during the post-COVID era.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Workstation NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Groupe Lacasse Paradigm Workstations & Senator Workpod

Private Offices

Private Offices ThenPhoto: Traditional Private Office

THEN: Private offices have thrived since the Taylorist 1900s era, and continue to be popular even today. Executives and managers especially benefit from private offices, which provide the needed privacy for focused work over extended hours and allowed them to meet with clients privately.  Often furnished with a complete office furniture suite, the private office generally consists of a large personal desk, a return for additional work surface real-estate, chairs for guests, and credenza and hutch with shelves and cabinets for storage.  This private room setup offers maximum privacy for confidential meetings and concentrated work, and most of the time includes windows overlooking employees to supervise them as they work. It’s the ideal setup for 9-to-5/five days a week schedules for many professionals.

NOW: While private offices are here to stay, office furniture trends in 2022 are seeing a rise of touch-down spaces. Touch-down spaces are smaller, more casual private or semi-private spaces for on-the-go professionals and executives to work. Today’s much more dynamic lifestyles and technology have allowed and granted more flexibility in our work culture.  We can now complete most of our tasks anywhere on a laptop and be able to meet with clients in more comfortable informal settings.  These less structured setups best accommodate the hybrid work-from-home/work-at-the-office schedules that have emerged from the COVID era.  Professionals are able to come to work, interact with colleagues and coworkers, have a designated space for focused work, but are still mobile to be able to pick up their work and relocate.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Private Offices NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Trendway Volo Walls create individual workspaces; Global Priva Acoustic Pods & Hat Collective M-Series Wall Mount Worksurfaces

Meeting Spaces

Meeting Spaces ThenPhoto: Traditional Conference Room

THEN: Meetings are as old as time, and they have always had one thing in common: one location. Starting from the 1900s, office furniture has stayed generally the same in terms of the meeting room. These spaces, most commonly referred to as conference rooms, are typically private and spacious areas with a large and stately table in the center to seat a group of people for power meetings, presentations and exchange of ideas. Traditional conference rooms are designed to impress and slightly intimidate; they’re the place where executives would meet, negotiate important decisions and strike million-dollar deals.

NOW: The past several years have seen a sort of democratization of the workplace. The open office has especially paved the way toward a more inclusive work culture where employees have free rein to roam about, and have access to all areas of the workplace.  There’s less need for huge, traditional meeting rooms that feel too formal. More professionals are gravitating to smaller meeting areas, sometimes referred to as huddle rooms, which are designed to be leaner, meaner, more efficient to use and accessible to everyone. The past couple of years of COVID especially have pushed for improved telecommunications and popular video-teleconference platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Meetings no longer need to take place in one location. Fully equipped with power and state-of-the-art A/V equipment, these new and improved spaces now allow for a quick gathering, brainstorming or impromptu collaboration without even having to be physically together. A more appropriate solution for the times, they help promote social distancing safety by keeping fewer groups of people together and allowing them the flexibility to meet virtually.

Office Furniture Trends 2022: Meeting Spaces NowOffice Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: OFS Heya Meeting Lounge, Scale 1:1 Telemeet Media Table & OFS Obeya Architectural Structures 

Training and Collaboration

Training Then
Photo: Traditional Training Room Setup

THEN: Training and collaboration spaces are crucial to every company. These spaces are generally made up of numerous rows of chairs and tables lined up auditorium-style, inside a room specifically designed for training employees, group orientation or team-building exercises. Typically designed to be very capacious, they’re able to seat a great number of people all at one time, and typically orient a group audience toward a speaker, not unlike a classroom or lecture hall.  Oftentimes these setups can feel severely rigid, formal and overly spacious, especially when only a handful of people need to use them.

NOW: Today, training and collaborative spaces are very much designed with the interaction of people in mind.  The philosophy behind the design focuses on harboring a sense of community while facilitating a more intuitive and organic flow of interaction and communication among people.  Now, we see breakrooms, lounges and other common areas that double as training spaces, in a less formal way. Comfortable modular furniture works best for this purpose, as they can nest together to accommodate group sessions, then be rearranged after to serve another purpose such as for lounge or individual work. Sometimes, it’s a mixture of sofas or individual seating with built in laptop and tablet tables.  Sometimes, stools, benches and ottomans are used with occasional, nesting or bar-height parsons tables, along with mobile white boards and TV displays.  Whatever the type of furniture, they’re meant to be dynamic, and are often on casters for ease of mobility and reconfiguration. These modern training and collaborative spaces are all about adaptability and flexibility, working to accommodate people’s natural way of interaction. The lines of formality are blurred, and optimized communication and comfort are prioritized.


Office Furniture Trends 2022 Photos: Senator Play Collection, Hat Collection M-Series Nesting Tables & OFS Coact Mobile Chairs and Heya Screen

Continued Evolution

With continued innovation in office furniture, there really isn’t one way to design an office anymore. Office layouts are fluid, and every generation focuses on different aspects of our professional lives and cultures to create what they believe is the perfect workplace for the times. Whereas the 1900s may have prioritized employees’ productivity and efficiency, many today weigh a significant value in employees’ happiness and wellbeing – because of the belief that worker satisfaction ultimately drives better productivity and efficiency. One thing will always remain however, and that is the constant improvement of the office to meet the ever-changing demands of businesses and the individuals who work for them. With a watchful eye on office furniture trends in 2022 and years beyond, we can look forward to new designs and solutions that will always reflect the culture of our times.

Following Office Furniture Trends of 2022

If you need help planning or designing your office space, please contact us and share your needs.  Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has about 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Stylex Seating
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Global, Groupe LacasseHat CollectionOFSScale 1:1, Senator & Trendway

Designing Office Spaces for an Engaged Workforce

Designing Office Spaces for an Engaged Workforce

Designing office spaces to engage your employees is critically important. Businesses that have engaged employees have a competitive advantage over companies that struggle to boost morale.

Imagine your office as a hub where your team is comfortable, equipped and energized. Today’s office can be designed for both full-time in-office staff and those choosing remote locations.

Here are a few quick tips:

Toss out what’s drab, plan for a maximum amount of light and use quality furnishings that promote well-being.

Take a fresh look at your space with these office inspiration ideas and tips.


Photo: OFS, National & Stylex

Consider Clarity and Color When Designing Office Spaces

Say no to clutter by using sleek designs and workstations with plenty of work and personal storage spaces.

Create well-defined spaces for team meetings, personal work areas, and inviting break areas and allow plenty of natural light to flow through the space while using colors to freshen the spirit and liven the mind.

Color influences our impression of the surrounding environment. That’s why nature is often so pleasing with vibrant greens, blue skies dotted with white clouds and sunsets painted with pastel colors. Even gray skies can have appeal.

Bring a cohesive sense of color into the office.


Photo: National Mabel Seating

Care

Employee well-being and safety has taken on new dimensions. Look at the changes. In years past, office wellness programs encouraged employees to exercise and get their blood pressure checked. Ergonomics was another part of office wellness, making sure workers were properly supported at their workstations with ergonomic chairs and height adjustable desks.

Then employees were encouraged to physically move at work: get up from their desks at regular intervals and get the blood flowing by walking and stretching.

In 2020, Covid stay-at-home orders brought a whole new focus on health. As companies have returned to the office environment, social distancing became the watchword.

Now it’s important to instill a healthy confidence in employees. Use covid office essentials for the workplace like desk and counter shields, freestanding panels, and space dividers. Use ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks to promote good posture and reduce stress

Your employees will know that you’re investing in their physical well-being.

But overall health is more than physical—it’s pleasant surroundings that lift the spirit.


Photo: Scale 1:1 Hot Spot Table

Comfort

A comfortable office environment keeps stress low so people can have the support needed to focus on their work. If your office has a contemporary design, then use colors that blend well together. Blue and yellow create a “vibrant yet welcoming atmosphere” as noted on The Upbeat Contemporary Office.

Give employees a range of motion, meaning, let them work from places that work the best for them. That may be at their assigned workstation for a few hours and then in a common area with comfortable seating.

Comfort goes a long way in making an office a welcoming space to work and sparking imagination.

Creativity

Your business, in principle, is similar to every other business: you exist to solve a problem for your customers, help them meet their goals, or achieve a special dream and milestone in their lives.

Remember when designing office spaces though, that how you go about your operations can differ considerably from your competitors. The way your team creates solutions requires creativity and innovation. Plan and design the office to support the creative problem-solving skills that your team brings to the marketplace.

Today’s furnishings allow you to take what was once mundane, like cubicles, and make them a welcome tool.

Enjoy making each office space come alive with its defined purpose.


Photo: Stylex Yoom Lounge Sofa

Collaboration

An office space that’s filled with positive energy enhances collaboration.

You know the setting well. People filter in for team meetings, have a dialogue, share ideas constructively, listen politely and arrive at a consensus where they take action together. Then they return to their remote locations.

Okay, slam the brakes on the fantasy.

The reality is that collaborating can be a necessary but messy business.

Just because you’re working together doesn’t mean that all parties agree with the direction that the ideas are flowing. Bringing different perspectives together can lead to disagreement because that’s a natural part of arriving at solutions.

Healthy teams learn how to work through those disagreements while respecting each other’s input.

Your office setting should support collaboration and the need to talk through tough issues.

Make sure to define areas when designing office spaces, such as where gatherings take place and make the atmosphere conducive to a discussion that flows. You can have different defined meeting spaces even if the office isn’t large and sprawling.  Use the latest in architectural walls for meeting spaces where heavy discussion is needed, and have a separate space that’s more of a lounge vibe for a less stressful atmosphere.

Use quality ergonomic chairs to support each person’s movements. Provide tables that are sleek, yet offer places for taking notes and setting up laptops without getting in the way.

Getting Started in Designing Office Spaces

Leadership sets the tone for a positive culture and the tone of communication that happens between departments and individuals. Planning your office well is part of the culture that you establish.

The team at 2010 Office Furniture is ready to guide you in making and implementing a plan.

Read Also: Ways to Make the Workplace More Kind and Caring
Main Photo: Stylex
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS, National, Scale 1:1 & Stylex

Use Benching Cubicles for Increased Collaboration in Los Angeles

Use Benching Cubicles for Increased Collaboration in Los Angeles

A Closer Look

The open office layout came about in part when tech firms had to boot-strap until investors stepped in, concepts were proven and investors funded the operations. In Los Angeles, established corporations along with start-ups and university departments have open office layouts but use systems like benching cubicles to differentiate departments.  Take a closer look at the benefits of the system and what benching cubicles offer to users.

Benching for All Team Players

Benching cubicles work well for managers overseeing a department or cluster of workers and for the team members themselves. Several stations can be configured together to accommodate a couple of people or several can easily be fit and arranged to seat an entire department.  Cubicles originally gave an almost claustrophobic feeling to employees but today’s choices like the Interra Cubicle by Friant allow for a more open, conversing atmosphere.

Benching for Efficient Communication

Benching cubicles have dividers that don’t get in the way like solid walls. Approaching co-workers or managers is easier than in a closed office. Personal interaction becomes organic and for electronic communication, it’s easy to plug in since the cubicles integrate well with technology.  The Accelerate Workstation by Hon is a good example of a system that shows clear boundaries for personal workspace while making the office accessible.

Benching for Department Identity

Form and function both come into play when choosing benching cubicles for an office. A finance department can have a completely different set up than a marketing team while a production group may want something even more unique.  The Crossroads Workstation by ODS has one style that can work for more numbers crunching and data entry compared to the Initiate Workstation by Hon that has a more traditional use of personal space.  Planning an office space well requires thinking through work functions and departmental relationships. It can’t be an afterthought. An office that designs work areas that truly support the workers has an easier time of attracting top talent than companies who simply fit desks together.

Whether refreshing an existing office or setting up a new office entirely, consider how benching cubicles, compared to desks and workstations, impact office flow and sharing information.