Tag: trends

Top five SA workplace trends in 2017

South African offices are changing rapidly as the workplace continues to shift from a utilitarian place where you earn your money from 9 to 5 to a much more people=friendly, welcoming space where we will spend more than 50% of our time during our working lives.

Emma Leith, Interior Decorator at workplace specialists Giant Leap, shares her top five workplace trends in South Africa for 2017:

The end of fixed workspace layouts

Creating multifunctional community space as well as a diverse selection of areas is becoming increasingly important in order to accommodate constantly changing needs; allowing people to have greater fluidity, mobility and flexibility in the workspace.

“This trend can be seen in the form of modular furniture, work benches and sit-stand desks. Communal areas are becoming an important part of the workplace where people can get together for an informal meeting, to simply enjoy a cup of coffee alone or with a college or to collaborate across teams,” says Leith.

The Modern Office: A Home Away From Home

The office fit out is becoming increasingly geared towards creating a more lived in and homey feel.

“It’s a home away from home type of scenario. This is created by providing cosy, welcoming lounges, communal canteens, and comfy break out areas.”

Leith says that this ultimately provides for a better working environment allowing for greater employee satisfaction. This trend interlinks with point one above as people now have the option to work in more relaxed, comfortable environments.

“Residential furniture is another element that is being used more and more to create that warm, never-want-to-leave-the-office feeling,” Leith added.

Private Areas

The growing trend towards the open plan office generates the need for private pods/ areas, as the open plan concept does not always provide for the best working environment.

“Private pods are needed whether it be to have a quiet phone call, meeting or place to work with no distractions.  Therefore a combination of spaces is essential in the modern workplace,” notes Leith.

Private areas can be innovatively designed telephone booths, sound proof quiet rooms and sound proof space dividers. Increasingly, various new “pods” are being installed in the workplace in South Africa.

“Secluded pods allow office workers to meditate, smash things or scream and will be commonplace in two years time,”  Leith notes.

Themed Meeting Rooms To Portray Company Identity

Themed meeting rooms are becoming important areas for companies to portray their identity, values and what they do.

This may be in the form of wallpaper, graphics, furniture, lighting, or colour.

This allows for each meeting room to take on a certain personality, ultimately making them more interesting and inviting spaces to be in, as well as emphasising the firm’s identity.

Play Space

Not just for trendy companies like Google any more or start ups burning through cash.

“Games such as pool and Ping-Pong are also being brought into the communal areas which allow colleagues to interact with other on a more relaxed level as well as help them to relax.

“This trend is growing in South Africa is an effective way to break the office stress cycle and rest the brain, “ Leith concluded.

Technavio’s latest global stationery and cards market report highlights three key emerging trends predicted to impact market growth through 2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as something that has potential for significant impact on the market and contributes to its growth or decline.

The key vendors in the market include, Office Depot, Staples, Top Culture, and Walmart. However, Hallmark and American Greetings make up for almost 80% of the greeting cards market. The other prominent vendors in the market include ACCO Brands, Adveo, Ardent Group, American Greetings, El Corte Inglés, Hallmark Cards, Herlitz, Kaut-Bullinger, Kokuyo, Lyreco, Metro, Ryman Group, and WH Smith.

“Vendors operating in the market provide a diversified range of products to appeal to a wider consumer base. Some of these vendors directly sell their products to end-users to reduce their reliance on retailers. They keep customers abreast of ongoing market trends by speaking of offers that aid branding and differentiation,” says Abhay Sinha, one of Technavio’s lead industry analysts.

“Being a discretionary product, stationery and cards vendors are largely affected by the economic outlook. To stay at a sizeable position in the market, vendors must therefore continuously innovate and provide new designs and utility of products,” adds Abhay.

Technavio’s market research study identifies the following three emerging trends expected to propel the global stationery and cards market:

  • Licensing of stationery;
  • Product innovations; and
  • Demand for green products.

Licensing is a popular trend that has been around for quite some time. The concept of licensing allows diversity and propels sales in the market through new product launches. Global sales of licensed merchandise reached $157-billion in 2013, whereby Asia’s emerging licensing market accounted for 12,7% of the world’s total. It is a trend that is anticipated to find tremendous popularity in all new and emerging markets for cards and stationery.

Licenses dealing with cartoon characters, movies, mobile games, TV shows, and sports stars are particularly popular and are used in the marketing of basic stationery products. These products display new and unique designs that are familiar to the consumer base, and this further drives its demand. With children anticipated to gain a greater role to play in consumer decisions, this strategy will thereby cause a major turnaround for the market over the next four years. For instance, Staples teamed up with Nickelodeon to offer exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob SquarePants designs on stationery products.

Product innovations

Designs are being centered on value-addition with enhanced appeal and additional convenience. Manufacturers are transitioning in terms of functionalities of stationery and cards by innovating with new designs, formats, and models. For instance, a pin-less stapler creates holes in sheets and interlocks all of them, thereby eliminating the need to use pins and refills the stapler. Notebooks, pens, and inks in different colors are becoming design-led products, while doubling up as fashion accessories.

To enhance their connect with consumers, vendors in the market are incorporating new technologies in greeting cards and stationery to increase their revenues and make them more appealing to consumers. Vendors are also using digital mediums to communicate with their consumers. For instance, the Jackpen, a writing instrument, can be inserted into the headphone socket of a mobile phone. Hallmark Cards have come up with sound cards, lenticular cards, and cards that have a voice changer, 3D motion, and lights. Such cards come with premium price tags and have a good demand in the market.

Demand for green products

Consumers are increasingly embracing lifestyles and processes that support green living. This is largely shaping buying pattern of individuals and commercial consumers, as they aim to consciously reduce the use of paper and paper-based products.

Vendors in the market are addressing this wave of environmental challenge by researching alternative materials and manufacturing products that are not only eco-friendly but are also functional and sophisticated. For instance, Glebe Cottage offers cards that use FSC-certified materials, alcohol-free printing process, vegetable-based inks, compostable bags, and green energy. Technavio researchers anticipate many similar product launches in the market over the next four years.

What does the office of 2016 look like?

For office managers trying to accommodate the needs and preferences of millennials, keeping up with trends can be a daunting task. Open plan is in, then it’s out. Dedicated workspaces make way for flexi-workspaces just in time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

And so employees and employers hustle and jostle to embrace the modern office, knowing the only constant is that it’s always changing. But there are some key trends that are here to stay in future-focused offices. Leading business solutions provider, Nashua, rounds up the most important office trends for 2016.

Hot desking
The concept of the dedicated desk has disappeared, replaced by a hive of hot desking. This workspace seating trend encourages movement and diminishes desktop clutter, as well as bringing bosses and team managers out of glass-windowed offices and into the general working area, amongst their teams.

Hot desking has also grown out of the need to avoid a completely sedentary work day – ‘sitting is the new smoking’ is a phrase that’s growing popularity. It’s also based on the belief that a large portion of desk space remains unused during the day as employees come and go, so having half the number of desks as employees is an economical move.

Community tables
Teamwork and integration continue to dominate office spaces. Cubicle segregation is now officially considered ‘retro’ and communal tables (often oval-shaped or round) are favourable places to set up shop.

This kind of community-minded workspace needs easily movable tech, which highlights the importance of cloud-based services and wireless hardware.

Wire hiding
Tangles of wires aren’t just an eyesore, they’re a potential safety hazard and they inhibit the user’s ability to move as and when they need. In 2016, businesses will focus on minimising spider webs of wires around the office, both with nifty wire-hiding devices and through the introduction of wireless tech – most importantly phones, printers and scanners.

Setting up managed print services (MPS) allows any organisation to begin the process of reducing the number of cords in the office and establishing a wireless workspace.

Living lounges
With the rise of the mobile workspace comes the need for secluded spots employees can use to escape the bustle of the open office. Pods, nooks and breakaway rooms have become key – preferably decked out with comfortable couches and reclining work chairs. Armed with a laptop or tablet, employees can work in seclusion and hopefully, boost productivity. This is especially important for creative workspaces.

To embrace office dynamism and have employees constantly on the move, businesses need to centralise their information management, so employees can access anything they need, from anywhere in the office – hammock, armchair or stability ball – at any time of day. Managed Document Solutions (MDS) is a simple way for organisations to facilitate this change.

Office spaces are generally becoming spaces of alliance, not separation – integrated and collaborative thinking is of utmost importance. This is mirrored in the movement towards more co-operative and seamless processes, giving employees the freedom to access the information they need at the touch of a button. It’s all about dynamic flow – and some seriously cool-looking offices as a result.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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