Julie Hargrove: Office design goes multifunctional

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By Julie Hargrove | Market Manager, Armstrong Flooring LLC
Today’s design trends for the office are influenced by what we learned to appreciate while working from home. 
We learned to appreciate the beauty of the outside and some personal space but also, we want to be with people. 
We want our work environments to be clean and inspiring; we recognized holistic health, both physically and mentally.
As we go back to the office we are bringing inclusivity so that we welcome everyone through flexibility in our surroundings. While the functions of the job may not have changed, the environment can look and feel different.
Providing a variety of spaces for people to work is the biggest trend in space planning. 
Many of the spaces are now multifunctioning. The open space for collaboration is, with the addition of a movable vertical element, also the space for a pod for some downtime or a private call. 
Flexible furniture provides the ability to not only be inclusive for an occupant with a disability, such as an adjustable table, but also adjustable for the function of the space. 
Comfortable couches and rugs are another alternative to provide work areas we got used to at home and can provide another meeting space in a less traditional environment.
The use of LVT – luxury vinyl tile – in lieu of carpet provides a homier feel and a biophilic enhancement by bringing a natural element inside. It is perceived as being cleaner and a design element that is relatable. 
Biophilic design is a practice of connecting people and nature within built environments.
Plants are another trend that can be transferred from home to the workplace. The addition of biophilic elements such as plants has been proven to reduce stress, improve focus and boost creativity and overall well-being. 
Access to outdoor spaces is another element with similar effects. Natural light via a trip outside or an accessible window is key to enhancing our mood and productivity. 
Color trends include warm beiges or whites when windows bring outside color into the work environment, or bright colors when natural light is not available. 
Focusing on flexibility, inclusivity and holistic health in the workplace are the most important trends in the workplace.
Julie Hargrove is the 2022 NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Northeast Florida Chapter Committee Chair for the awards gala.
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