Back in 2019, just two years ago, the working world was very different to how it is today. Pre-pandemic, a traditional office space was open plan and filled with as many desks as it could possibly fit. There would have been a stuffy boardroom in the corner and a few hot desks dotted about – if you were lucky. At the time, there was some talk of agile spaces and collaboration, but it was very much the exception and not the rule.

But times have changed and so have our office spaces – for the better too! Here we look at what is driving workspace design and how to make the most of your office space… busting some jargon as we go.

First Impressions Count
Your reception area is the face of the company. It’s the “meet and greet” space.

Once a customer, prospect, supplier, prospective employee or member of staff walks through the door, the space will be setting the scene for them. From this first impression they will assume your business values, ethos and branding.

Grab this as an opportunity and look for ways to portray your brand through soft furnishings, colour combinations and even the furniture.

Whilst it was once just a space to meet with visitors, in a post pandemic world, lobby/reception areas now act as “meet and greet zones”.  These are visitor specific spaces which prevent them from entering the main working space of the building; a practical solution whilst social distancing remains a consideration.

Tips for a meet and greet space:

  • Implement organisational systems with clever storage solutions stop it feeling cluttered (particularly in smaller spaces).
  • Use a light colour palette to portray a sleek professional environment. Don’t feel it is a necessity to introduce your brand colours either. As designers lean more towards a “home office” look and feel, the obvious additions of brand colours is becoming a thing of the past.
  • If space isn’t on your side, this area could also double up as an extra break out space for your employees.

Of course, cost will always influence the choice of material and design, but it’s important to consider the durability of materials whilst incorporating business colours to reflect your branding.

Collaborative Working in an Agile Environment
Increased freedom, a sense of autonomy for workers, improved wellbeing, job satisfaction, and reduced operating costs due to better space management – this is agile working.

Home working has accelerated the introduction of more agile working environments as businesses have had to re-think the spaces they have. And without a massive rush back to the office any time soon, now you can create an agile space that you can use it for anything you need – yes really, anything!

  • Conferences
  • Training days
  • Weekly stand-ups
  • Ad-hoc meetings
  • Study areas

The choice is yours. Agile working is about bringing people, processes, technology and time together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working.

Research across 160,000 projects and 50,000 agile teams found when team members were 95% dedicated to an agile team their productivity doubled, compared to teams in which members were only 50% dedicated – so if you’re going to do it, do it right.

An agile space will look very different from one organisation to the next. And it can soon change – and change again.

Think about whiteboards or smart boards to brainstorm. Plan to use moveable seating and storage solutions.

By setting up a workspace that can be reconfigured at any point, you retain the flexibility to adapt your processes, if you ever need to.

Grab a Laptop and Go!
Unsurprisingly, laptops saw an increase in sales of over 40% in 2020 as home working became the new norm.  And it doesn’t look like everyone will be rushing back into the office either. So, do you really need as many desks?  And can you make better use of your existing desk space?

Yes!  With the development of smart technology, laptops and wireless capabilities, there is no longer the need for large bulky equipment and set desks for every employee – just grab your laptop and go.

A move towards “unassigned seating” or “hot desking” is now seen as the go-to for most organisations. Apart from the space saving benefits, it increases levels of communication between employees, improves professional relationships and facilitates chance meetings that foster innovation and the creation of new ideas.

Hot desking also allows for less clutter, greater organisation and an increased ability to share office space.

Work/Life Balance
We’ve spoken of the work life balance for many years and, pre-pandemic, it was certainly becoming a louder item on the agenda. However, since working from home and enjoying a very different work/life split, this corporate catch phrase is the jargon leader in a post-covid world.

Ensuring employees are taken care of is now seen as a vital element of every workplace helping to support employee retention and prevent absenteeism.

We are seeing an increase in businesses that are choosing to incorporate a mindful centre within their workspace. These new spaces allow employees the time and space they need to get a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the office. Break out zones and pool tables are all well and good, but where do you go if you just need to find some of that “working from home” quiet we’ve all become so used to?

Quiet zones (also known as focus areas) are also a great space for employees to sit either alone or with another colleague in a space enabling concentration and focus.

Out with The Old
Hours spent in stuffy boardrooms are no longer in our future. The working world has altered and they aren’t seen as the centre of productivity anymore.

Nowadays companies are turning to other options to better utilise shared spaces in a more casual environment – particularly office pods and round (instead of long/rectangular) tables to help conversations flow, debate ideas and find innovative solutions.

Giving employees the freedom to move and not be tied to a specific location for 8 hours in the office has proven to foster collaboration, productivity and employee wellbeing.

Is it all change?
While some businesses already know what direction they want to take in terms of their modern office space, others remain a little perplexed. There’s a balance to find between implementing positive changes and finding ways of working to make people more efficient and more productive.

Let’s face it, these are challenges that have long dominated the space planning arena. The only difference now is that we have a different sense of perspective to offer some different solutions.


At Plann:d we understand office environments, and have bundles of new ideas and interior solutions for you to incorporate into your workspace.  Get in touch today for more jargon busting advice on making the most of your modern office in 2021.