[fusion_text]Driven by today’s changing work styles, mobile technology and the ever-growing presence of Millenials, the workplace is changing – mostly for the better. In the past decade, companies have moved away from traditional offices to more open and collaborative workspaces.

In 2010, Baby Boomers made up half of the U.S. workforce. By 2020, they will be outnumbered by Millenials. A study by Forbes predicts that by 2025, three out of every four workers will be Millenials. Millenials are ambitious, tech-savvy and creative, and they have a different working style than any of the previous generations. For example, Millenials may be more productive sitting in a café or lounge area than in a traditional workstation. Their ability to easily adapt to technology enables many of them to work anytime, anywhere. This shift in the workforce has largely contributed to many of the new office design trends.

From integrating the latest technology, to workspaces that increase collaboration among coworkers, the work environment is rapidly changing. Therefore, the way offices are furnished and set up must change as well. Here are some of the biggest office design trends from the past year:

The new workspace is all about collaboration

Gone are the days when workspaces were cramped and secretive. In today’s modern age, it’s less about keeping the world out and more about letting it in. Ceilings are higher, companies are using brighter colors and offices are more spacious. More and more companies are opting for open floor plans where everyone has a desk in the same room rather than each employee having their own office. This allows employees to openly and easily collaborate on projects, and it creates a strong and unique company culture.

Today’s workforce requires a “home base” space

More and more employers are accepting the idea that their employees don’t have to be at their desks in order to be productive. Many employers are allowing their employees to work freely around the office and even in locations outside of the office. Today, employees are less tied to their office space than in the past. But when they are in the office, they need a “home base” spot – a place they can come to in order to be productive and get work done.

Employees are able to personalize their space

Every employee is different. In today’s workplace, it’s important that employees are able to express themselves freely. Family photos, artwork and desk plants are just a few of the things that make a desk feel more like home, and it’s an important part of creating a comfortable environment.

Acoustics are vital

Office acoustics often contribute to performance and well-being in the workplace. When employees have difficult work to finish, they often seek out quiet places in the office. The ability to have a quiet space for employees to work when they don’t want to be in the open environment is essential.

Offices with white noise, also known as sound masking, have more productive employees. In a study by CABE,  employees in offices with sound masking reported improvement of up to 38% on the performance of simple tasks and 27% for more complex tasks. Sound masking isn’t the only way to reduce unwanted noise. The layout of your office, sound proofing materials and behavioral protocols can all make a difference.