The design and layout of the South African workplace is changing with new studies in work productivity and employee satisfaction. Gone are the days of tightly packed cubicles and harsh fluorescent lighting. Modern offices are embracing decoration and lighting effects that benefit the interior and its occupants.


USB ports and charging points can now be found alongside the usual power outlets. This allows an ease of connection for today’s technological devices so that employees can quickly and efficiently power up and get working. Desks and work stations are designed to accommodate modern technology such as laptops as well as older desktop computers. Some desks have built-in touch screens or projectors for easy display purposes, which when offered for clients make their experience more involved and interactive as well. Shared displays promote collaboration between employees and even other companies.

With so many technological advancements, it is often difficult for companies to predict what functions job positions will need to fulfil in future years. Just five years ago, some of today’s vital positions didn’t exist, so companies need to be prepared to adapt to future changes. Flexible workspace designs and adaptable furniture can aid this preparation, since they can be adjusted with minimal difficulty to suit the needs of a new position. Spaces and furniture should be able to adapt to technological advances, like integrated touch screens, for example.

Convertible workstations

Sitting all day has known health risks and can be a drag. Many companies are now deciding on standing meetings instead of seated, since being on their feet allows employees a good dose of exercise and concentration. Standing conferences are also shorter and more productive than seated meetings.

Workstations are also promoting more active work and seating arrangements are more flexible in today’s workplace. More convertible workstations promote ease of movement but still allow for comfort. Movement and physical activity stimulates productivity as increases the health and well-being of employees.

Stylish yet homely workplace design

While work and home life should agreeably remain separate, that is not to say that the workplace doesn’t need to feel like a homey, comfortable environment. Residential style furniture and decorations are becoming more popular in South African workplace design. Having these styles in the workplace increases inspiration, creativity and motivation as well as comfort.

Conference tables are being designed to look like dining tables, and lounge suites make for stylish and welcoming waiting areas instead of rows of office chairs. Having smaller household lights and lamps placed more frequently provide the same amount of light as commercial fluorescent tubes, but provide a healthier and happier atmosphere.

Open spaces

An open workplace design instead of cubicles and segregated workstations promotes collaboration and conversation between employees. As well as productivity and teamwork, morale and partnership values are also strengthened. Personal space is still encouraged in a healthy mix of shared space and individual workstations. Open spaces also encourage more flexibility and movement, especially for executives and supervisors.

Biophilic workplace design

To nurture and make the most of the instinctive bond between humans and other life forms, like plants, biophilic design aims to bring nature into manmade spaces. Environmental responsibility has become a more conscious effort recently, and companies have embraced this responsibility through various recycling and responsible production programmes.

A further eco-friendly movement in South African workplace design is including live plants as decoration, as well as natural light and views of nature where possible. Incorporating greenery in the workplace is extending to living walls for statement designs, representing a company’s commitment to environmental care. Office greenery is reported to increase productivity by 6 percent and creativity by 15 percent.

Workspace design and maintenance is typically the second highest expense for a company, so attention to detail and investing in good quality, high-tech furniture and equipment is essential. Utilising this space efficiently is also important. Room to grow and expand a business should be balanced against wasting space. Open and adaptable spaces allow for this. A more stimulating and comfortable, not to mention welcoming, work environment creates a more productive and satisfied workforce. These workplace design developments will do wonders for a business.

Planning your office space and choosing the best furniture can seem daunting. Help is at hand. At My Office Furniture, we offer workspace design and planning as well as modern furniture to emulate these qualities and improve your workplace.

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