With individuals spending most of their waking hours at work, the need for well-designed, ergonomic office space has become crucial. There is great emphasis now on creating the right environment that is relaxed but simultaneously fosters productivity. This has impacted the way office furniture has been perceived and designed over the years. From casual seating to flexible workstations, office furniture has evolved drastically and changed the typical office ambience. Whether it is coloured, the use of environment-friendly materials or ergonomic form, the way office furniture is being designed and manufactured today is impressive.
In their study, Godrej Interio learned how the transforming nature of work and a younger workforce are altering workplaces, from pure ‘work hubs’ into ‘social hubs’. “The current Indian workforce, of which 46% are millennials, prefer three types of workplaces – to focus, relax and collaborate,” explains Sameer Joshi, associate vice president, Marketing (B2B), Godrej Interio. Modern office furniture, therefore, isn’t just about creating productive work environments – but an enjoyable work life, where employees can work and socialise in flexible work settings.
Flexibility is key to office design lately, as the workforce gets younger and unconventional working methods to become the new norm. Designs, today, are focusing on making a self-configurable office that can be altered with the need of the hour, agrees Praveen Rawal, managing director, Steelcase India and South East Asia. “The Indian workplaces ecosystem is going to see a lot of exciting changes on the same lines backed by digitisation.”
Office furniture has to constantly evolve itself as per the changing industry trends, and dependence on technology is poised to change how the furniture is designed for this niche segment. Ashish Aggarwal, CEO, Indo Innovations, shares that the current focus is on furniture that integrates technology while giving its best in terms of performance, comfort, usability and aesthetics.
Among the many interior trends in commercial spaces, there are some key ones to watch out for. According to Dhiren Gopal, managing director, Featherlite, one such trend is the need for adaptable office furniture in the market today. “This type of furniture allows organisations to easily have internal meetings and training sessions, while also helping to host events that bring clients and partners. This is essential for multipurpose spaces in office; adaptable furniture allows comfortable seating,” he explains. Top-quality foldable desks, stackable chairs, and rolling table tops give offices the flexibility they need. When it comes to colours, Gopal notes that pale grey and white are not as prevalent anymore, colourful furniture is opted for more often to motivate employees to work hard and actively.
Integration of smart furniture which is multi-functional and multi-purpose are definitely in vogue, says Joshi of Godrej Interio. “For instance, an open work desk that can double up as a conference table for small team meets as well as for individual work is a great addition to the office.” Formal rows of desks are being replaced by more casual spaces to work, in order for the workspaces to appear more inclusive of different working patterns. Joshi adds that most organisations are ditching stereotypical patterns of cubicles and adopting the concept of a smart and social office where collaboration is easy and use of social media is considered as a catalyst of productivity. When it comes to aesthetics, monotonous and monochrome colour palettes that were typical of the ’90s have made way for abstract designs and geometric patterns that create a more energised and lively ambience.
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