Four of the Top Office Trends for 2017

Open offices, tree houses and video games.

All three have been big office trends in the past, a reflection of the new work world where management tries to use workspaces as a platform for employee freedom and creativity.

While most of the trends we see on a day-in/day-out basis are focused on office organization and planning, it’s much more than that. Philosophies of leadership transform over time, as do concepts of teamwork and idea generation.

So, to get a comprehensive view of what this year’s hottest trends are, we turned to several different reliable sources and built a list of four of this year’s most popular office trends.

HR Will Get a Boost

You’ve probably heard of the term “big data”; it’s the new way to process large chunks of information, then use those findings to create business strategies.

According to Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman, this trend has affected many parts of the workplace, but HR hasn’t been one of them. The purpose of HR is, after all, to make people feel like more than just numbers, right?

“Data scientists, one of the most in-demand positions for the past two years, haven’t been much of a presence in HR-related tasks,” Dishman wrote.

She goes on to say that data can help in three different areas: measuring the onboarding process, tracking morale and testing out different types of workplace management.

Workplace Organization Will Continue to Evolve

Open workspaces are now old news, but the emerging nuances within this arena continue to evolve. says we can expect this trend to continue this year.

“Now that employers have substantial insight into how the work environment affects their employees, design thinking is emerging as a new major trend in HR,” the site wrote.

We should see further development of multipurpose work areas, modular desks and “furniture with multimedia capabilities,” the site explained.

Other emerging areas to look for? Enhanced health and wellness programs, more standing workstations and stress management programs.

Caring for Remote Workers

This trend comes courtesy of HR Daily Advisor, and we think it’s an important one.

A recent Forbes article noted that more than 30% of the American workforce are freelancers, earning a 1099 instead of the traditional W-2. Many of these freelancers work from home, and, it’s safe to say they don’t receive the same kind of treatment as someone working in the company’s offices every day.

Employers like Dell are starting to realize this, contributor Al Zink, and are exploring ways to offer their remote workers (“distributed talent”) effective care.

“How do we extend culture and benefits equality to provide an ‘umbrella’ of culture to remote employees or satellite offices while allowing for some local customization of programs and policy,” Zink asked. “When you visit different locations and facilities what exactly are the values and culture and how are they implemented?”

Zink says 2017 is the year that leaders will put a lot more thought in how to effectively manage their remote teams.

A Shift in Performance Management

Companies are starting to see the flaws of the traditional model of yearly performance reviews. In lieu of this standard, they’ve chosen to explore new ways of performance management.

According to Human Resources Today, this is one of the biggest trends in today’s workforce.

“HR professionals encourage managers to move towards a coaching culture that prizes skill development, regular feedback and growth opportunities,” Catherine Spence wrote. “This type of coaching relies on asking open-ended questions, providing hands-on opportunities to develop new skills and allowing teams of workers to self-coach through stretch projects.”

This idea of continuous feedback is something contributor Dan Schwabel discussed in his recent article about 2017 workplace trends.

In his opinion, this type of employee feedback is more appropriate for Millennials and Gen Z workers.

“Professionals today desire instant feedback, a behavior they’ve adopted from the instant gratification they receive on social networks,” Schwabel wrote. “Younger generations are especially impatient and are unwilling to wait a whole year to learn about their strengths and areas of improvement.”

Schwabel referred to a Robert Half study that revealed that a quarter of the workforce believe that “annual performance reviews don’t help improve their performance.”

Change Effects All Parts of the Workplace – Even the Furniture You Choose

If the trends of the past 10 years have taught us anything, it’s that new workplace trends start with ideas and trickle down into how an office is designed and furnished.

Stop by our website to look at what we can offer for your ever-evolving workplace.

The Five Best Startups of the Past Ten Years

It’s hard to believe that just a decade ago most people were wielding flip phones and mass use of the internet was barely passing its 10th birthday.

What’s just as staggering is the number of new technologies that have stormed into our daily lives during that time. VR? Didn’t exist. The iPhone? Barely existed. The Internet of things? Nope.

And think about all the startups that have popped up during that time. It seems like every week a real-life version of the Pied Piper was popping up somewhere in Silicon Valley as baby-faced developers pounded away at their keyboards.

As an ode to the men and women whose creativity and drive built some of the more well-known names in tech, we’ve compiled a list of five of the best businesses borne out of the past 10 years.

#1 – Betterment

CEO Jon Stein started Betterment back in 2008 because he ran into a problem. As a financial advisor, he was great at telling other people what to do with his money, but when it came to his own finances, he nor his colleagues had any idea what they should do with their money.

So, Stein launched Betterment, the original robo-advisor that has grown into a full-service financial institution offering investments, retirement accounts and trusts.

Betterment made this list because they are one of the vanguards of decentralization, right along with Uber and Airbnb. They took the power out of the hands of the big institutions and put it in the hands of the people at a fraction of the cost.

#2 – Uber

Another true disruptor, Uber started in 2008 and launched its first rides in San Francisco in May 2010. Since then, Uber’s services have expanded to more than 500 cities worldwide.

Some have taken to the emergence of DIY cabs with open arms – Uber fares tend to be less painful than what you’d pay for a taxi. Others, not so much – cab unions across the world have put up protests at the first whiff of their city’s Uberization.

Either way, the cab service has now become a household name. Uber has also branched out into a number of ventures, including package delivery, meal delivery and carpool services.

#3 – Fitbit

Another San Francisco company, Fitbit grabbed the Internet of things and sent it for a run around the block.

The wearable fitness device, while it has competition, has become the standard name and product in the Internet of things’ fitness niche.

The company has launched several lines of fitness trackers – the Force was an early favorite, along with the Flex and the sleek Alta.

While heart rate monitors and tracking devices existed as Fitbit grew, the company’s combination of slick-looking wearables and a user-friendly app helped it sprint past the competition.

#4 – Tile

Tile is a great example of a company that took funding and used it well.

The small Bluetooth square can be attached to just about anything. When that “anything” is lost, you activate your Tile and it emits a beeping melody that helps you locate it.

Tile’s owners relied heavily on crowdfunding to start the project back in 2013. Another competitor, Trackr, popped up around that time. However, it was Tile’s reliable performance that led the company to take charge of its niche.

The company sold 2 million Tiles between 2014 and 2015, an impressive feat for a tech startup. The company is already in its second generation of devices.

#5 – WhatsApp/Instagram

Thankfully, the days of SMS texting are pretty much behind us and messenger apps rule the day.

Among the world’s most popular is WhatsApp, a company started in 2009 and acquired by Facebook in 2014 for nearly $20 billion.

Instagram revolutionized photo sharing, gaining 300 million users within four years of launching. Like WhatsApp, Instagram was bought by Facebook, but at a fraction of the price: $1 billion.

We’re Not a Startup, But We Are a Leader

Office Planning Group has been in business since 1969, a time when most of the employees at the companies we mentioned above weren’t even born.

We’re okay with that because we’ve used those nearly 50 years to build a reputation as a reliable office planning company. We built that reputation by listening, planning alongside our clients and handling all phases of our projects.

If you want to learn more about what we do, head to our About Us page.