When it comes to understanding new trends for commercial design and furnishing, NeoCon is the place to be.
Held yearly since 1969, NeoCon brings the office furniture community together by showcasing the latest designs and newest products from well-established and emerging manufacturers. This 3-day event is all-encompassing, representing design for all commercial areas, such as hospitality, retail, education, government, and more.
We had the pleasure of attending this year’s NeoCon show in Chicago again, where we learned about the future of the workplace, the new directions of office design, and upcoming trends you may want to consider if you have your sights set on an office refresh.
Here are some of the top trends we spotted at Neocon this year.
1) Hybrid Workplace Design
The hybrid model has been popularly adopted by many workplaces. We know hybrid work as a mixture of in-person and remote staff members who share their time between the office and home. As hybrid work continues to evolve, the work model can also be defined by workplaces that fuse traditional office spaces with the flexibility and comforts of home. This new approach to designing an office, also known as hybrid design, has resulted in spaces that combine privacy with open concept, formal with informal, and commercial design with home design.
2) Creative Private Spaces
Privacy was a consistent theme throughout many of the showcases at NeoCon. Creating privacy in the office for both individual and group work can positively impact not only the functionality of your office, but the productivity of your team. Especially in hybrid workplaces where flexibility is essential, the traditional desks and cubicles aren’t the only places to get work done anymore.
Creating sound barriers for certain areas in the office results in flexible touchdown stations or private work pods, while maintaining a balance of openness and flow in other areas. Panels made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) felt, a material made from recycled bottles, absorb sound and are also a popular solution to creating privacy in a workspace.
Booths and Pods
A popular solution to limiting sound travel and creating private workstations are booths, also known as pods. Designed to mimic a traditional telephone booth, only bigger, these fully enclosed spaces are perfect for taking calls, attending virtual meetings, or even just having an extra quiet place to work. These booths are noise cancelling and allow you to focus without any verbal or acoustic distractions, making it ideal for open offices and hot desks.
Soft Seating with Built-In Privacy Panels
For semi-private touchdown stations that are ideal for individual work or meetings that take an informal approach, we saw a lot of soft seating solutions that were built with privacy panels attached. Not only does this help define and block off a specific area, but it also provides a visual and acoustic barrier, inviting you to get comfortable in the space. This type of seating would also be ideal in educational settings as study areas.
Overall, creating separation through panels and moveable walls was a strong trend at NeoCon. If you’re considering incorporating panels in your office to create separation, learn how with our blog on how to buy panels.
3) Freestanding Units
Flexibility is a growing requirement in workplaces. As hybrid work continues to gain popularity, creating a versatile office is key to keeping up with the demands of the labour force. At NeoCon, we were introduced to mobile workstations. These freestanding workstations are equipped with castors, allowing the unit to move easily throughout the office for quick and effortless rearrangement that doesn’t require installation or electrical services.
4) Height-Adjustable Tables (HATs)
Height-adjustable tables (HATs) have only grown in popularity since their initial introduction. As a vital part of an ergonomic workstation, HATs come in a variety of structures and designs. From the classic, telescoping lift design seen in our Enhance
collections, to HATs that take more of a stylish approach, Neocon showcased the best of both.
Pictured above is a HAT with lifts that hide in the base of the desk, making it look like a traditional desk in the seated position.
5) Open Shelving
Out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a popular approach for storage solutions in many workplaces, but at Neocon some manufacturers focused on an open, airy design when designing their storage products. Open shelving gives users an opportunity to style shelves their way, creating opportunities for personalization in the office space.
6) Organic Materials and Greenery
At NeoCon, many manufacturers played with materials that had an organic look in their designs and décor. We saw many displays where natural wood was being used to add warmth, comfort, and visual interest to a workspace. Greenery was also integrated into many workstations and meeting areas, adding an element of nature and wellness to the office.
7) Going Green
In addition to showcasing nature in workplaces with organic materials and greenery, environmental considerations were a popular topic at Neocon. Many manufacturers are aware of the environmental impact associated with office furniture and are finding ways to minimize their carbon footprint. By sourcing sustainable materials and creating office furniture in environmentally friendly ways, manufacturers are playing a role in protecting the planet.
8) Bold Colours
There was no shying away from colour for many of the manufacturers at Neocon. Vibrant colours and bold colour combinations were used to create lively and energetic spaces, that would undoubtedly spark some creativity in an office setting.
With an emphasis on privacy, versatility, and personalization, Neocon showcased the future of the office as a destination where cooperation and privacy can co-exist. By creating spaces with personality, comfort, and flexibility, staff members can feel excited about coming to the office.
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll explore economical ways to incorporate these trends in your office without the high-end prices. If you’re ready to create a hybrid-friendly office your team will love, contact your nearest Source Office Furnishings location
to get started.
For more office supplies, visit our resource pages on ergonomic office furniture.
And if you’re looking for more information on ergonomics, check out these related blogs:
Ergonomic chairs | The Economics Of Ergonomics | Building A Safer Office With Source