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Top Trends in Sustainable Office Furniture

It’s not your mother’s or father’s office… and maybe not even your big brother’s.

Workspaces have changed a lot over the past few decades. Back in the 70s, most offices were constructed “bullpen style,” with rows of desks placed side by side with no separation. In the 80s and 90s, we saw the insurgence of cubicles - boxes with fabric partitions that provided a semblance of privacy. But as we head toward 2020, modern offices are undergoing yet another transformation—becoming more open, informal, and collaborative.

What's with all the change?

Today’s employees are working differently—and today’s employers have different values and expectations.

Designing for mobility

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), there are approximately 96.2 million telecommuting workers as of 2015—and that’s expected to soar past 105 million by 2020.

With so many employees working remotely at least part of the time—whether it’s from homes, airports, coffee shops or client locations—requirements have changed for the design and layout of office buildings. Instead of allotting a cubicle or office for each individual employee, many organizations are moving to a shared system, where part-time or flex-time employees schedule days and times to occupy workstations.

Even for employees who aren’t remote, on-site mobility is becoming essential for productivity. In addition to making standard electric and data outlets readily available, many companies are investing in furniture with built-in power sources, such as the AIS Oxygen system. And when employees need to relocate from one part of the office to another, desks with casters promote easy movement.

Going green at work

“Going green” isn’t limited to recycling, using efficient appliances, and driving smart cars. Workplaces are also boarding the eco-friendly bandwagon, pushing for more sustainable practices. This can mean implementing any of the following strategies:

  • Utilizing natural lighting instead of fluorescent bulbs
  • Opening windows instead of running the air conditioner
  • Decorating with live plants instead of synthetic accents
  • Replacing physical travel with video conferencing to reduce emissions and expenses
  • Providing convenient recycling receptacles for employees
  • Using cloud-based computing for more efficient data storage

Keeping it simple

Remember the days of bulky computer monitors and giant processors taking up space at each person's desk? Modern workplaces are streamlining their technologies, replacing cumbersome equipment with sleeker, more space-efficient designs. Employees often bring laptops to and from the office, plugging them into flat-screen monitors.

Desks, chairs, cubicles and storage components are also becoming more minimalist. Instead of heavy, bulky, and expensive furniture, cost-conscious companies are opting for simpler, repurposable solutions.

One example of simplicity in action is the Modular Millwork line. In high demand among schools and medical facilities, Modular Millwork is sustainable furniture made from recycled materials. It’s designed to be reconfigured into virtually limitless designs to meet employees’ changing work styles. This eliminates the need for firms to purchase multiple types of furniture, reducing their expenses and their carbon footprint.

Another benefit is that this simpler furniture is easier to manage, move, and maintain, without the need to pay contractors.

Collaborating with ease

If you walk into any modern office, you’ll likely find more groups brainstorming and working together than individuals with their noses to the grindstone. Today’s collaborative workplaces require specialized furnishings to support frequent interaction, such as these efficient designs:

  • The River collection by Global Total Office allows employees to create an endless variety of configurations to suit their needs: adjustable seat heights, coordinating side tables, and convenient built-in charging stations.
  • 2Gether Multipurpose Tables, by Global Total Office, are ideal to have on hand because they have casters, flip tops for easy storage, wire management troughs, and beautiful clean lines for a modern elegant aesthetic.
  • Spot Mobile Benches provide convenient mobile temporary seating with storage for multiple employees.

Getting started

Not sure where to start? Leverage our office space planning and design expertise to create the space in which your employees thrive. Call us at 877.779.3409, or use our online form to get connect with us.

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