Office Trends: Reviving a Tired Workspace

by Mike Plotnick, Staples® Contributing Writer

You’ve spent countless hours together for months, years, maybe even decades, but it may be time to consider whether your workspace is still a suitable companion.

Perhaps your styles don’t mesh the way they once did. Or your space hasn’t kept pace with the way you like to work. It’s possible the two of you have just grown apart.

Here are some telltale signs you need an office redesign.

It Doesn’t Drive Productivity

“If your workspace is hindering your productivity, or your ability to effectively communicate with others, then it’s time to do something about it,” says Rob Moylan, principal of the workplace studio at SmithGroupJJR in Washington, DC.

Ergonomics plays a significant role in supporting productivity and encouraging creativity at work. “If you can’t easily access your primary tools, or if you don’t have enough room for what you do, then you should consider rethinking how your space is configured,” Moylan says.

It Doesn’t Suit Your Work Style

While open office environments have dominated the corporate landscape in recent years, there’s a new office trend toward multifunctional spaces that suit diverse tasks and preferences. Personalize your workspace to accommodate different work styles, temperaments and needs to concentrate or collaborate.

“One size does not necessarily fit all,” says Arturo Febry, principal of IA Interior Architects in Chicago. When designing office space for multiple employees, “offer different layers of open and closed spaces, because not everybody performs well in open environments.” Home-based business owners can carve out a space dedicated exclusively to office work. “When you’re done for the day, you can walk away, close the door and you’re home,” he says.

It Isn’t Flexible

Even if you prefer working at a traditional office desk and chair most of the time, design an office that adapts to different tasks or moods, enhances collaboration and improves your creativity at work.

“Have more than one way to work in your office,” Moylan says. “You might sit at a table for an hour, or get a headset and walk around while working. Not only will it make your day go more quickly, but it’s just healthier to stay mobile.”

It Isn’t Healthy

Speaking of health, there are numerous opportunities to reconfigure a workspace to enhance health and wellbeing: from selecting nontoxic products and materials to arranging the space with convenient access to daylight, outdoor views and natural ventilation.

And recent studies touting the benefits of standing have spawned new office trends in stand-up and treadmill desks.

“It’s all about blood flow,” says Dan Lee, CEO and founder of NextDesk, a manufacturer of height-adjustable desks in Georgetown, TX. “You improve your mental acuity and energy level if you sit and stand at intervals as opposed to being relegated to sitting for long periods of time.” Plus you burn a minimum of 60 calories each hour you stand.

It Doesn’t Inspire You Anymore

If the sight of your office evokes feelings of dread, that’s a sure sign an office redesign is overdue.

“It's time to redesign your space when you feel like you're in a rut and the creative juices have come to a halt,” says Eli Mechlovitz, interior designer and owner of in Brooklyn, NY. “When you don't feel inspired the moment you sit down to start a task, it's time to brighten up the space to expand your ingenuity and push your productivity.”

Add large-format decals or textured elements to walls, incorporate a small water fountain into the space, or integrate the color blue to promote an aura of relaxation and ease.

It’s Time

If any of these scenarios feels familiar, you’re due for an office redesign. Use these tips to personalize your workspace to maximize productivity, health and happiness.

Mike Plotnick is a writer, publicist and social media convert who helps businesses elevate their stories. Based in St. Louis, Mike has overseen PR and communications programs for a diverse range of organizations. He enjoys fitness, chocolate and the St. Louis Cardinals. 

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