NeoCon wrapped up its 30th year on October 6 at theMART, reuniting the commercial interior design industry for a buzzing celebration of innovative design and valuable connections. 500 industry leaders took advantage of the nearly 1 million square feet of exhibition space to release new product innovations that will impact the offices and other shared spaces of the future. Whether it’s tents and pergolas especially designed for both individual and collaborative work, products for a neurodiverse workforce, flooring that incorporates biophilic patterns, or dynamic furniture systems ideal for flexibility, manufacturers at NeoCon showcased solutions that contribute to the inclusive, efficient, and user-focused workplace critical to the well-being of and retention of today’s workforce.
Here is our selection for top workplace trends and products featured at NeoCon 2021:
1. Outdoor Spaces that Accommodate Work
The movement of the office outdoors is nothing new, but there is no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated and popularized the trend. Taking advantage of the external environment also allows for greater available use of real estate, such as utilizing the square footage between buildings on office campuses. Once thought of mainly for al fresco social gatherings, employees are increasingly seeking outdoor spaces as havens for focused, individual work, as well as collaboration.
2. Space Division, Multi-Use Solution + Mobility
Offering a myriad of options and areas for different kinds of work requires space utilization efficiency and mobility.
3. Hexagon + Organic Shapes
Geometric and organic-shaped systems allow for innovative, unique and space-saving configurations.
4. Tents + Pods / Adaptable Space (Privacy for Individual Work + Mobility)
Privacy solutions are not only ideal for heads-down, focused work, they can also offer users a sense of security. With its light and airy organic shape, Steelcase’s Work Tent—whether outfitted with a desk and chair or lounge seating—is a stylish and safe personal haven within an open floor plan.
5. Colorful Tables + Benching at Varying Heights
Tables and seating that utilize colors and varying heights allow for a playfully varied workplace setting.
6. Modular Seating + Chairs with Integrated Tables and/or Power
For informal meetings, brainstorm sessions or when your desk isn't cutting it, modular lounge with built-in power allows for flexibility in choice in the way you work.
7. All-Mesh Chairs
Innovations with fully-mesh task chairs allow for big steps in sustainability, comfort and ergonomics. Not to mention, it looks great.
8. Mobile Lounge with Handle for Easy Mobility
Flexibility continues to be at the forefront with lounge that is made to move. Handles and casters allow you to take seating where you need it when you need it.
9. Accounting for Mental Health and Neurodiversity
Employee wellness has been a major consideration in office design for many years, but mental wellbeing is coming into greater focus. According to a recent study, 74% of all workers, including 88% of those ages 18-24, say poor mental health has impacted their productivity (Aetna International’s 2020 Employee Health Study). In addition to reducing anxiety, which is at an all time high due to the pandemic, research indicates the need for workplaces and solutions that accommodate a neurodiverse workforce. Versatile environments that provide for a range of options give users more control and choice, fostering equality, integration, and helping to reduce anxiety. Flexible layouts and work solutions individuals can self-select for different kinds of work also contribute to a healthier, more functional and inclusive workplace.”