According to a 2021 survey by Microsoft, 41% of the global workforce would consider switching jobs this year with 55% noting that their workplace would play a huge role in their decision-making.

On that note, here are the four emerging office space design trends to thrive in the new normal:

Hybrid model

Did you know that in a global survey conducted by TravelPerk, 76% of respondents confirmed that their companies shifted to a hybrid workplace model?

The hybrid model is the answer to the growing demand amongst employees who want choice and flexibility for where and how they work. Here, employees are only required to come into the workplace once a week on the same day as their team. The rest of the time, unless there is a meeting best done in person, offers employees the flexibility to work from home.

In a nutshell, this work model aims to change the concept of going to an office space as an obligation to a destination. Offices will become places where people will come together for training, collaboration and connection rather than the outdated model of 9 to 5 desk work.

Australia’s leading communications company Telstra was already moving to this before COVID-19, with their employees working from home 1.7 days a week on average.

Increase in collaborative and flexible spaces

In the 2021 State of Remote Work by Buffer, difficulty in collaboration, communication and loneliness are the top 2 struggles of remote working according to 2,300 global respondents.

As organisations adopt the hybrid setup, it will become increasingly important for employers to shape a workspace where they can connect and communicate face to face to support that virtual existence.

One best example is James O’Flaherty, Adtrak’s business operations director, who has re-configured the company’s 16,500-sq-ft workplace to include team-working spaces through hot desks where workers can book through an app, social spaces to promote dialogue, and rooms equipped with new technology for seamless videoconferencing with remote-working colleagues. Now strategically designed, they decreased their desks from 120 to only 70.

Meanwhile, Robert Mankin, a partner in architecture firm NBBJ’s Los Angeles office, thinks future office spaces will also need to be more agile and able to change depending on the demands of a given day. This might mean multipurpose furniture that is easy to move to promote collaboration or demountable partitions for moments of privacy.

Salesforce, for example, reduced its desk space by 40% and embraced a floor plan with a more team-focused workspace that encourages a balance of individual and collaborative work. The Korean fintech company Hana Bank HQ was also modified to cater to various modes of working, like heads-down individual work, flexible seating, and collaborative office spaces that encourage focused team interaction, and lounges for socialising.


Office spaces in the new normal will be composed of new touchless technology that replace surfaces like buttons and handles. Other tech inventions might include:

  • face recognition,
  • intelligent signage (to create a frictionless experience and tell you your first meeting is on the third floor), or
  • QR codes for things like sit-stand desks

However, the most crucial tech component of the post-COVID-19 office will be a need for a tool to help bridge the gap between remote and in-person staff. As such, companies like Microsoft have debuted elaborate conference rooms with curved tables, projection equipment and specialised mics and cameras that make in-person participants feel like everyone’s present and remote participants feel like everyone’s remote.


According to the Global Wellness Institute, the Global Wellness Workplace is already $48.5Bn in market size in 2020. It is projected to grow by $58.4Bn by 2025, signifying a 3.8% increase. What’s more is that Australia ranked 10th amongst 20 markets in 2020 with total spending of $1.07billion.

Health has been a rising topic in the workplace even before the pandemic and post-COVID, creating a comfortable workspace that combat stress and improve mental wellness and job performance will become more evident to support employees. There will be an ongoing emphasis on indoor air quality and general sanitation, lighting, and biophilic elements (like plants, green spaces, and views of nature) that can impact employee wellbeing and productivity.

More employers have introduced flexible well-being programs, including giving employees more freedom in choosing when, where, and how they work. Benefits like child/elder care assistance, shorter and more flexible work hours, and more paid leave are gaining momentum in some quarters. Employers/governments in Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan have also made headlines in their experiments with 4-day work weeks, aimed at combatting burnout and improving engagement.

If you would like to build, renovate, fit-out your workplace or office spaces, get in touch to start a confidential chat.