Latest trends - Home from Home

In the beginning.. offices were stuffy and uptight places where staff wore suits or dresses to work. You were given a desk to sit at which was usually surrounded by desk mounted screens to separate you from fellow workers to enable better concentration and higher productivity.

Over time, business relaxed slightly, allowing new ideas like dress down Friday, where people wore casual wear because it was the end of the week. In some offices, this seems to have become a five day options as people wear jeans to work every day of the week.

Office furniture has followed the changes in its own way. The first big change was to 'hot desking' - a flexible working system in which people took their laptop and phone and sat on any spare desk that was available. This meant that if you usually worked away from the office, your desk didn't sit empty all week.

Office furniture and interiors now seem to be relaxing even further. You can still buy wooden desks with silver or dark grey cantilever legs but now different coloured tops in wood and laminates are now becoming available. The rise of laminates allows designers and furniture buyers to specify a rainbow of colours. White is the most popular but I have heard of designers requesting desks in red and orange laminate. The legs can now be gently curved and available in white and polished aluminium as well as silver. This is best illustrated in the DNA range, designed for Verco by Roger Webb Associates.  

Offices seem to be taking on an appearance of being a 'home from home'. Interior colours are moving away from the industrial to colours that you would put on your walls at home. Fabric colours on seating and partition screens used to be Lead, Charcoal, Cherry Red, Royal Blue etc. This year, a lime green fabric is our best seller. Table lamps suitable for home use are becoming more commonplace in the workplace. Some clients are also putting rugs into offices.

On a recent blog, (see below) I explained how Google had made its new Victoria offices more inspiring, by using 'Brighton' for inspiration and incorporating Beach Huts for Meeting Rooms, stools shaped like liquorice allsorts and video conference rooms shaped like dice. Certainly not your standard office.

Are these moves to encourage staff to relax and mix more with fellow workers, therefore communicating better as a team? Or are they to make staff feel more at home at work and therefore spend more time there? I would rather work in a happy workplace than an oppressive work environment where I cannot wait to leave in the evening. How about you?