When we think about the 20s, we typically think of the “roaring twenties,” where people dressed up, partied, and enjoyed their time out. The 20s in the 21st century has been anything but a party so far. Due to COVID-19, people are staying home with their families, wearing nothing but sweatpants, and focusing on their own personal wellbeing. The current epidemic has dramatically shifted the way we work and live—which ultimately shifts the way we design. So, what are the trends in the 20s today?
In the past years, we have been literally trying to break down, or at least shorten, the barriers from neighboring coworkers when it came to workstation design. We are now building those barriers back up, but that does not mean they must create a solid fortress. Almost every major furniture manufacturer is offering modifiable workstations that include clear glass screens and movable partitions to protect and make individuals feel safer in their own work zones. In the future, these screens can be removed or replaced to reflect with the current workplace trends.
Though workstations may be reverting to old ways, we are still moving forward in terms of integrating both heads down and collaborative work areas. During the pandemic, we have all realized how easy, yet difficult, it has been to work from home. In most professions, at least some collaborative efforts are needed. The office will still continue to have these open and closed meeting zones, but there may be less seating for the time being to promote social distancing, and there will be further integration of technology to accommodate those still working remotely.
Being that we have been successfully working remotely, it may be a trend here to stay for a lot of companies. Some industry leaders have predicted there will be a decrease in personal offices, and the promotion of shared workstations and offices (properly cleaned of course) to take full advantage of the square footage provided. If half of the office only comes in a couple of times a week, it does not make sense to continue having a private office or desk dedicated to a single person full time. Instead, a desk can be shared between multiple employees that rotate the days that they are in the office.
When people begin to come back to the office, this means that surfaces will need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, especially in the shared and collaborative areas. Though they have been around, several new products with antimicrobial properties are emerging that are intended to be used in more than just healthcare settings. Having easily cleanable surfaces means there will be a lot less plush and textured fabrics and wall coverings. Instead, designers and clients are going to be looking for the smooth, non-absorbent textiles that can handle harsher cleaning products. On top of textiles, there has been a push for other products, like floor and wall tile. Tile is already an easily cleaned surface, but now more products will be able to help minimize the spread of bacteria throughout the day.
Flooring will have a large role in defining the different zones within a workplace and promoting further social distancing that can help prevent unnecessary contact. Many commercial flooring manufacturers have begun to incorporate graphic carpet tiles that provide the direction of travel and 6-foot spacing, and all manufacturers have been demonstrating collections with multiple patterns that can be used to distinguish between corridors and open collaborative areas.
Though many of us do not consciously think of it, the colors in our environment can really impact how we feel. For example, white usually makes us feel like the space is clean and pure, and additions of colors found in nature, such as blue and green, promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Current color forecasts show trends of more calming color palettes with beige, gray, navy, and earth tones, while still adding statements with pops of color ranging from oranges, pinks, and greens. These palettes will provide a comfortable, serene space, while still having those bold colors to help excite and energize.
Needless to say, this year has brought the world a lot of change. As we move forward together, we hope to help stay on top of these changes and make the best of the environment we are all living in. Contact us for help implementing these design trends—and more—into your project.