NeoCon 2021 was one of the first in-person events in almost 2 years, giving us the opportunity to see and share how the industry is thinking about the new life of work. While flexibility continues to define the modern office, other trends like private touchdown spaces and rejuvenation areas were clear areas of focus.
Here are some other trends we spotted at NeoCon 2021:
Flexibility isn’t a new concept in the workplace, but with new hybrid models, employees are moving away from individual workspaces in favor of more relaxed spaces — akin to what you might find at home. At NeoCon, we saw the importance of reimagined cafe and lounge spaces that give employees a place to sit comfortably and collaborate — or focus on their own. More than just a touchdown area for a meal or meeting, these spaces have expanded to accommodate new uses and postures. Seating systems that support these work styles will continue to be an essential part of the new workplace experience.
Easily reconfigurable seating systems like Sistema, seen above, are important for collaboration, providing a platform for small group working sessions while keeping comfort top of mind. Sistema has inherent flexibility thanks to a mixable, matchable design that can be configured in a variety of styles — from high-backed lounges to backless benches — accommodating whatever your workspace might require.
When it’s time for focused work, finding a private, quiet workspace is a necessary retreat from the distractions of the open office. More open offices and less restrictions on how and where employees work means we still need to ensure that there are spaces for individuals to tune out their surroundings and settle into a solo workflow. At NeoCon, we saw renewed importance for creating solo spaces in the middle of public rooms, so employees can step away from the group and stay productive.
Lagunitas Focus Nooks and Chaise Lounges create intimate spaces away from such distractions. High screens in knit or fabric keep you feeling like you’re in a private space, and the articulating back cushion easily changes positions so you can lounge, work, or just add some lumbar support no matter the posture.
After a session of collaboration or highly-focused work, stepping away for a break to rejuvenate and relax keeps workers feeling, and being, well. Wellness was a central theme at this year’s NeoCon — from outdoor spaces to mental health — with workplaces shifting more spaces in order to support the physical and emotional comfort of employees returning to the office. While outdoor areas profile a breath of biophilia, lounge spaces offer a chance for employees to relax, which will ultimately increase productivity, workplace satisfaction and overall wellness.
A well-equipped in-between space can make all the difference — whether it’s an outdoor area with the supportive seating of EMU Rio, or the all-day comfort of Marien152 in the cafe.
Read more about the Hybrid Workplace and products that support the new life of work from Steelcase.
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