Four Trends Pushing the Future of Office Design

It’s undeniable that Covid is forcing the contract workplace to be reimagined. For months, architects and designers have been considering what employers and workers will want and need when it’s fully safe to return to the office. They are considering four major factors:

1.  Growth of Work From Home

The shift to WFH has been dramatic. And while it’s still not universally easy or fully embraced for every worker or employer, it’s clear that WFM is not going away.  Music and podcast giant Spotify recently announced that it would be adopting a “Work from Anywhere” model.  Employees can choose whether they want to be in the office full-time, at home full-time or a combination of the two. This unique approach is gaining traction, and not just with tech companies.

2.  Smaller Office Footprints

With WFM, fewer employees will be in a physical workplace.  A recent Pew Center Research study says more than half of employees want to continue working remotely, even after the pandemic has passed. This means employers are looking at reducing their overall office footprint, which can translate to financial savings. Companies that have been hard hit by the pandemic are looking to save even money on their furniture and fixture investments, but they do not want to sacrifice quality.  

3.  Safety, Wellness and Inclusion

The coronavirus has put an even brighter spotlight on the importance of workplaces that offer safety and wellness. No employee wants to work in an environment where they don’t feel safe or their health could be compromised.  At the same time, we recognize more can be done to foster greater employee inclusion. When workplaces bring people to together in a safe and inclusive way, that can lead to greater worker satisfaction, happiness and productivity.  

4.  The Role of the Workplace

Architects and designers are thoughtfully reconsidering the role and purpose of the “new” workplace. Is it a place to foster company culture? Spark innovation? To be sure, the pandemic has given the A&D community a chance to “pause” and rethink what a workplace is and should be for employers and employees.  This could be the most important question that needs to be addressed moving forward.  

Design Considerations for the Workplace 

Each of these factors creates major design challenges.  Fortunately, the A&D industry is not one to stand still.  There are multiple resources available that can help address and solve these issues.   

For example, when it comes to addressing the needs of a smaller office footprint, HOK’s “10 Principles of Space Management” can be an excellent resource.  HOK offers an even more robust solution with its Space Management in Corporate Real Estate article.  

Integrating wellness into your design can be made easier through the International WELL Building Institute.  The organization offers a slew of tools and resources. One to check out includes its course called Covid-19 Training for Professionals. This course provides evidence-based design strategies for promoting new health and safety best practices.   

Products That Support the “New” Office

Selecting products for the “new” office will be essential.  Manufacturers have been stepping up with multiple solutions. Some of these include:

Flexible Workstations

Mobile and adaptable workstations are emerging as a way to meet multiple needs. These solutions, like this M Nesting table from HAT Collective, allow for group collaboration at a safe distance. Or, this product can be used for independent and highly focused work, when needed. 

Steel & Component Based Furniture

Employers realize the importance of cleaning and sanitizing spaces and products. Many manufacturers, like Integra Seating, now have chairs with steel arms and legs. Products made with steel can be cleaned easier than those with wood or other porous surfaces.  Additionally, modular products, where seating arms or legs can be easily replaced, eliminates the need to – and expense of – replacing the entire chair.

Creative Carpet

Carpet is poised to play a significant role in the “new” office. It checks many of the boxes related to heath, design and functionality. As a soft surface product, it naturally absorbs noise, which helps with acoustics. Fibers from the carpet trap allergens and dust particles, which improves indoor air quality. 

And, when made with a premium solution-dyed nylon, like Zeftron nylon, it offers numerous design advantages. Custom carpet products can create wayfinding schemes to help with social distancing.  Or, custom colors and patterns can be used to create calm and wellness-themed spaces.  An organization can also use custom colors to support their culture; a company’s logo and their colors can be easily and cleverly integrated into a carpet design.  

What’s Next

It’s clear that some trends for the post-pandemic workplace have emerged. But it’s unclear which ones will prevail. Or what new ones will appear.  

But one thing is undeniable: Everyone – designers, architects, employers, workers, product manufacturers – must continue to be adaptable and flexible to meet the ever-evolving workplace needs. The architect and design industry has responded with vigor and innovation since the pandemic began. These same characteristics will be needed as we enter the “new” office workplace.  

What are your thoughts? What are the workplace trends you’re seeing? What are some of the innovative and adaptable products commercial products you’d like to see in your office?



Today’s Workplace Design: Three Benefits of Carpet

Carpet made with Zeftron nylon

The office of today is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of gray walls and tiny cubes separating the individual from the masses. The new workplace is open, airy, colorful and brand-driven. Now more than ever design is critical to achieving collaboration, inspiration and maximum productivity.


But how does a designer come up with the perfect interior for a client? Unfortunately, there is no secret formula. Instead it changes with every space that is created. But what doesn’t change is the need to connect the design aesthetic of the environment to the functional needs of those occupying the space.

Carpet made with Zeftron nylon at Bar Architects in San Francisco
Carpet made with Zeftron nylon at Bar Architects in San Francisco

The floor is typically the largest surface of any interior space. As a result, the flooring product you select can play a major role in both that space’s design and functionality. What can help you make the decision to choose carpet over other floor coverings for the next commercial space you design?  Below are three points to consider:

Acoustics: It’s well-known that quieter environments can foster greater focus and attention. Global design firm HOK lists this as one of their top 10 trends influencing workplace design today, and we agree. One of carpet’s best features is sound absorption, which can help reduce unwanted noise and create more productive employees.

Color: Carpet ain’t what it used to be! Our mill partners work hard to create amazing carpets that are not only beautiful, but highly stylish and versatile. We recently released seven new colors called the Brilliant Collection, which include colors like Lemon, Hot Pink, & Electric Blue to name a few. Why is that important? Research shows that bright colors not only add a spark of energy to a space, it can also foster greater engagement and activity.

Branding: Earlier this year Building Design & Construction posted an in-depth look at how millennials respond to workplace design. The new workplace is quickly filling up with this young generation and they expect a branded feel to their workspace. High-quality design in the workplace is a competitive advantage and will help with recruitment and retention of millennials, and all employees. Carpet offers the flexibility and customization to create a branded feel for your project.

Carpet made with Zeftron nylon at Bar Architects in San Francisco

What are other important factors when you specify carpet for your projects?  When choosing a commercial grade carpet, we have talked in the past about the importance of knowing the traffic the space will receive, as well as the maintenance plan for the space. Let us know if you have any questions about Zeftron nylon!

To contact Zeftron nylon call Tim Blount at 706-532-2984 or email him at