For business owners and office interior design companies, furniture is one of the most important considerations. Any functional office design has to provide desks, chairs and other furniture for work tasks to be carried out and the well-being of staff may depend on this furniture being of high quality.
In this post, we take a look at some workplace innovations related to furniture and take a closer look at the office furniture you can expect to see more of in the years ahead.
In recent years, the health consequences of sitting in an office for eight hours a day have become more apparent. Indeed, according to Get Britain Standing, this sedentary lifestyle has been associated with problems ranging from back ache to heart disease and diabetes, and one possible solution is the sit-stand desk.
This technology, and other similar ‘smart furniture’, can help to alleviate health problems within the office by serving as a sort of ‘Fit-Bit for the office’, increasing activity levels during the day. In return for this investment, businesses can hope to see reduced levels of absenteeism and staff turnover.
One of the major workplace innovations businesses and office interior design companies will have to adapt to in the coming years relates to the emergence of 3D printing. Although not yet viable or the purposes of creating workplace furniture, Forbes point out that Rapid Liquid Printing could make this a reality in the near future.
Clearly, such technology could make a huge difference to everyone involved in the process, from designers to business owners and office fit out contractors, because delivery times would be eliminated.
However, the potential actually goes much further. The use of 3D printing within office furniture design could allow for furniture to be fully customized, with adjustments being made to the size and height of chairs and tables, or the shape of backrests, so that they fit individual workers, or fit into the available space more easily.
Another recent office furniture trend, which is likely to gain even more popularity in the future, is the presence of sleep pods in the workplace. This technology has already been adopted by companies like Google and Uber, allowing staff to take short naps, and there is evidence that this improves productivity.
Ben and Jerry’s have had a dedicated nap room for more than a decade, and there are a number of options for such facilities, including pods, chairs and beds. Meanwhile, shoe retailer Zappos has massage chairs in its Las Vegas headquarters, helping to reduce the levels of stress among staff and alleviate problems like backache.
With the increased prevalence of telecommuting, these type of workplace luxuries are likely to become more commonplace, as businesses attempt to provide value that cannot be replicated from home or the coffee shop.
“If you are expecting people to commute every morning to get to a specific place, there has to be some pay-off,” says Jim Keane, CEO of Steelcase, in a feature for Wired. “It has to be the best place they can work. If their dining room is better than the office you provide, then they should stay at home.”