IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Trends that will shape workspace layouts in 2022

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Fri 14 Jan 2022

Designer and business management expert Maggie Weber lays out a number of trends shaping the workspace in 2022.

The first half of 2021 saw the slow return of employees to offices, with many realising that they craved interaction with their colleagues. But the surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant towards the end of the year has resulted in many companies delaying their return-to-office plans indefinitely. 

It's become clear that office spaces must change to accommodate a workforce wary of crowded areas, more aware of health precautions, and accustomed to online interactions from the comfort of their own homes. In a post-pandemic world, with many buildings standing empty or only partially filled, what trends can we expect to see in office spaces that will draw people back and ensure maximum occupancy in the office? 

"Flexibility is key and, while it has always been around in varying degrees, it is now a primary consideration," says Ttris South Africa Head of Design, Maggie Weber.

"A hybrid working model is emerging as a favourable choice for many organisations, offering flexible solutions for when, where and how staff can work."

Here are some of the key design trends Weber believes we'll be seeing in office spaces this year:

Employee-centric spaces

Weber says it's the year of the employee, and employee-driven design choices will be the primary design trend of the year. 

"With people now accustomed to the creature comforts of working from home, companies will be incorporating softer, cosier elements into the office space to encourage employees to return to the office," she says.

"Plush carpeting and plenty of comfortable seating create a space where people can work in comfort, be inspired, and meet with others to share ideas. Warm lighting and materials such as velvet, wool and fleece will become increasingly popular as they are helpful for those with sensory issues around light and texture, while inclusive, mindful design is key to accommodate neurodiversity while providing stimulating and rewarding workspaces."

She says buildings that offer more than just a place to work will succeed in attracting occupiers. Spaces dedicated to activities other than work, such as relaxation rooms, rooftop gardens and sitting areas where people can socialise, will become more popular. 

Safety and wellness

The pandemic has highlighted health and wellness in the workplace. Some post-pandemic safety measures in modern offices include smart technology devices such as UV lights in lifts to cleanse the booth and energy-efficient HVAC systems with UV lamps to cleanse the circulating air. 

"A safe, clean and hygienic environment will reassure people are coming back into the office," says Weber.

A greater need for distanced workstations and fewer desks has meant a rise in multifunctional work areas that efficiently use space. "Modular furniture is great here, with its ability to be reconfigured to accommodate a variety of tasks and employee needs."

Hybrid working is a growing trend, with a recent JLL study showing that 63% of the workforce want to work in this style in the future. The hybrid working model allows for fewer shared desks as workers alternate between the home and office. When coming into the office, employees can choose a workspace or meeting room to match the way they work or the task they have planned for that day. For example, they may need a meeting room for collaborative work or a quiet space for focus and concentration.

Natural inspiration

Green design and biophilia are already significant trends, but in 2022 Weber says we will start seeing even more natural elements make their way into office spaces. Apart from the aesthetic appeal, greenery and nature-inspired designs can positively impact people's wellbeing. An Interface study, The Human Spaces Report into the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, showed that workers in offices with natural elements had a 15% higher level of wellbeing, were 6% more productive, and 15% more creative.

Corporate and environmental sustainability

The commitment to green design goes beyond biophilic design. Employees increasingly want to know where their office furniture comes from, how it was procured, and whether other materials used to create their office space were sustainably produced and ethically sourced.

Climate risk is now accepted as a financial risk, according to JLL's global survey, Responsible Real Estate – Decarbonizing the Built Environment, and real estate has a critical role in fulfilling enterprise sustainability commitments. One solution being looked at globally is retrofitting legacy buildings to improve their efficiency and emit less carbon. This is a critical step towards a net-zero carbon future as old buildings are responsible for a large portion of the world's energy consumption.

"By reusing the buildings that we already have and incorporating sustainable office fit-outs, we can make them work harder and more cost-effectively," says Weber. 

"To drive this kind of sustainable thinking in all JLL and Ttris projects, we launched our Sustainability Code, a methodology accessed through an app that ensures projects move through sustainable intent and concepts to sustainability delivered.

She says in 2022, sustainability in the workplace is about more than just green design. It is also about meaningful social and corporate governance goals. 

"Social responsibility is a major theme in 2022 and involves giving back to local communities, creating a circular economy and sourcing locally. It's about humanity and our connection to community, what we call 'ubuntu' in South Africa. It's about taking care of ourselves and of each other."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Wireless
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Talend
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Collaboration
Meadows exits Ingram Micro New Zealand on a good note
We look at the resignation of Danny Meadows from Ingram Micro's New Zealand Unified Communications & Collaboration business unit.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Clear Dynamics closes $35M funding round, invests in global growth
The funding is a major milestone and speaks to Clear Dynamics’ vision for AI-enabled ‘composable’ enterprise software, the company states.
Story image
Attain
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
SaaS
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom welcomes new marketing codes for the telecom industry
The Commerce Commission is welcoming the creation of new marketing codes for the telecommunications industry.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS launches human-focused responsible innovation initiative
SAS has launched a responsible innovation initiative, furthering its commitment to equity and putting people first.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implentations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Lightspeed
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
CRM
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."