Separating work and personal life is the common attitude of employees. However, work beliefs change over time, both individually and culturally. Two hallmarks of the Millennial employee, for example, are a desire for work-life balance and a preference for plenty of collaboration[1], leading to modern trends in workplace building and design to reflect these ideals.

NeoCon 2018

NeoCon 50 took place last month in Chicago, and over 50,000 commercial design professionals converged to share ideas. The NeoCon platform was created in 1969 to serve as a launch pad for innovation in the commercial design industry. This year did not disappoint, and the official Monday – Wednesday event spilled over into Sunday’s anticipatory gatherings and countless evening celebrations.[2] The 2018 presentations revealed some interesting trends relative to the professional-personal continuum when it comes to office space. The tagline for this event could have well been There’s no place like home.


From Board Room to Living Room

A stroll through the showroom this year made one thing clear: today’s staff enjoys homier offices. Warmer lighting, softer furniture items, and bolder art pieces are examples of how design pros are crafting an office that feels like an extension of the home. This blurring of the lines between residential and commercial design were evident at NeoCon. With Farmhouse Fever an epidemic in home design, wood and stone surfaces and other cabin-esque features are also trending in an attempt to create feelings of warmth at work. Open spaces that mimic the residential family room can encourage collaboration and are becoming the new norm.

Napping on the Job

In addition to the boardroom that feels like the living room, some companies are even providing bedrooms! Well—almost. Sleep deprivation is common among high-power executives, but growing numbers of individuals and corporations are feeling the catastrophic effects of minimal sleep. Nearly 1/3 of American employees get less than the recommended 7 hours, and the positive effect on professional success are misguided.[3] This problem might be the motivation for another workplace trend—the nap pod—revealed at NeoCon 2018 by two European companies. The pods serve as stand-alone additions to the workplace and are meant to encourage rest when needed during the workday. The jury is still out on whether the pods can change the long-held stigma about sleeping on the job, but some American companies are already incorporating this concept and seeing increased satisfaction and productivity at work.

GenY sometimes gets a bad rap, but their ideas about work-life balance and the need to connect meaningfully with colleagues is influencing the modern workspace. And the creative professionals at Element Designs work to stay in sync with contemporary innovation. We meet you at your vision and partner with you to bring it to fruition. Our aluminum, glass, and acrylic designs can help you and your clients fashion a workspace to meet any company’s needs.

Learn more here about the innovative products and services at Element Designs.