Forward thinking – what’s new for 2020

March 2020

So, what is on the horizon for 2020?

A new year always presents itself as full of possibility, however the potential is that bit more heightened when we’re at the start of a brand, spanking, new decade, with history waiting to be written for generations to come.

The 20s is a whole new era and that, in itself, is inspirational, offering a clean creative slate, with fresh influences and ideologies to pick from. It’s hard to second guess what hasn’t yet been thought of but what we can do is look at where the little green shoots cropped up over the past 12 months and use those as markers to start from.

If we consider the varie ty of projects, our conversations with clients, and the type of questions asked during the early stages of the planning process, we can navigate the sparks of ideas and the patterns that are emerging and attempt to forecast the trends most likely to rise to the fore in the months to come.

Telling the story

In this age of social media, all businesses are keen to create a narrative around their brand in order to build a personality and forge a connection. This storytelling is already bleeding into the office environment and companies seem happy to pick up on any story blocks to hand.

Where there is a bit of history to be embraced, either in the building itself or the locale, businesses are becoming increasingly keen to shine a spotlight on this heritage and incorporate it into their office design.

Companies are also more open to developing their own story arcs, sharing their histories from humble beginnings to recent successes and
flagging significant events along the way. All of these stories, whether they are focused on the building or the company, are best told using
visual aids and props.

We expect to see this trend take hold moving forward as more clients choose to incorporate significant pieces of furniture, original features,
photographic references and boards detailing the journeys that their brands have made.


There’s been a definite rise in pet-friendly offices, onsite gyms, prayer rooms and special washing facilities, with more and more companies
looking for ways to address workers’ lifestyle requirements and to introduce solutions to the working environment that reflect the advantages
that are often reserved for those who work at home or outside of the office.

The larger international corporates are already a step ahead with some providing onsite hairdressing facilities and laundry rooms, not to
mention extended and subsidized catering options – and we expect to see more of the same. What’s more, a lot of these offerings will start to
get introduced by the SMEs in the immediate future.

The common interest, whether you’re a large corporate or a smaller concern, is the provision of a working environment that brings people
in – and keeps them there – and companies will use what they have, becoming more creative in their bid to provide workers with a home from

A decade ago, employees were pushing to work from home and good employers were deemed to be those who sanctioned home offices.

We’re looking forward to a reversal of this status: Instead of home spaces being turned into work spaces, commercial office space will likely
reflect home space in the choice of décor, the level of comfort and the facilities provided.

For all purposes

Again, companies will be looking to maximise their space, making the most out of what is available and becoming more creative in their
approach to how the space can be used.

In the last decade, we saw the introduction of a glut of companies that specialise in the outsourcing of boardroom and meeting room space
and facilities. We are expecting these numbers to be countered by companies who choose an alternative solution, preferring to take on space
that allows for significant conference facilities.

Going forward, some businesses will opt to retain such larger spaces so that key meetings can be hosted on site – but they will want that space
to work hard for them. This means that there will likely be more boardrooms with retractable walls and dividers, which will automatically make
these spaces more flexible and multi-purpose.

What comes natural

Vegan and organic aren’t just part of the selection in the best work cafeterias, vending machines and snack boxes.
This will be the year in which vegan, organic and recycled fabrics are readily embraced when interiors are being considered and brands are
contemplating the messages implicit in their design choices, overall.

Expect to see more upcycling when it comes to key items, such as side tables and sofas, in communal areas. Similarly, reclaimed materials,
including timber and brick, will continue to prove popular.

All of these choices reflect the mindful approach, along with an eagerness to demonstrate a set of ethics and values, that was introduced in
the last decade and that will most certainly come to fruition in this new decade as the generation Y and Z workforces take root.

Venturing out

Continuing and complementing the above theme, the fixation on biophilic design has become entrenched in the modern office psyche and
companies will take what they can get when it comes to nature. After all, being outdoors and accessing natural life fulfils a basic human need.

And where there’s a will, there’s a way… Smaller companies are now using every means possible to bring the outside in. Moving on, we expect
these companies to become emboldened and, if they have access to roofs, the smaller businesses will likely request roof gardens and facilities
to be included in the plans – particularly if they have limited or no access to any other outdoor space.

This is already proving to be true of companies operating out of larger towns and city centres and it’s a trend that will dominate, supported by
the well-documented correlation between improved productivity, wellbeing and nature.

In a nutshell

Each theory shared as to what might lie ahead over the next 12 months fits into a bigger picture of the workplace with one fixed element –

Businesses will be focused on investing to create spaces where people will want to work, to visit and to be a part of.

To foster amazing talent and optimum productivity, these spaces have to engage and impress.

That’s where we come in.