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Year in Review: Top 5 Products for Workplace Design in 2023

December 21, 2023
  • Workplace

As we close the curtains on 2023, we look back at the year and reflect on the critical trends and insights that informed workplace design strategies across the industry.


From workplace well-being and hybrid work policies to the new industrial revolution and embracing Gen Z as young professionals, we’ve observed several critical design shifts this year that shaped—and are continuing to shape—interior design for the modern workplace.

And with these design trends, we noticed definitive preferences emerge in the types of applications for these spaces and the products that designers selected from us time and again this year for those spaces.

In our year-in-review recap that follows, we review the top trends that shaped this year’s design insights. We also share our top five most popular workplace products from 2023 and the applications where these products were specified most—and why these solutions matter as we look at the direction of commercial interior design in 2024.


Workplace Trends That Defined 2023

Workplace Well-Being

In 2023, the concept of workplace well-being evolved beyond ergonomic chairs and standing desks. It encompassed holistic design approaches that integrated biophilic elements, calming color palettes, and adaptable spaces catering to mental health needs.

Our workplace well-being study went beyond furniture, exploring the interior design concept of curated environments that act as sanctuaries to promote mindfulness and enhanced productivity. This design approach fosters critical spaces for employees that nurture physical, mental, and emotional health.


Hybrid Workplace Policies

The hybrid work revolution demands furniture solutions that seamlessly transition between in-person and remote collaboration. Our hybrid workplace design study not only focused on adaptable furniture but also emphasized integrated technology and on-demand privacy booths to enable smooth virtual interactions.

These designs encouraged a sense of belonging and inclusivity, regardless of the physical location of the workforce. This paradigm shift also crafts versatile environments that cater to diverse work styles.


Gen Z in the Workplace

By understanding the distinct preferences of Gen Z professionals, we discovered ways to foster dynamic workspaces conducive to flexibility and personalization. Environments that are designed to be fluid allow for constant reconfiguration and personal expression, aligning with Gen Z’s desire for autonomy.

To embrace the influx of the next generation into the workforce, we highlighted designs that echo their preferences and needs. Comfortable yet highly functional furniture options, especially those with integrated technology, resonate with the younger, often more tech-savvy mindset. Similarly, modular seating and surface solutions easily adapt to their evolving needs.


New Industrial Revolution

In response to the seismic shifts in manufacturing and industrial landscapes driven by supply chain challenges and the push for reshoring, we discovered facilities are seeking a facelift for the modern era. Design for manufacturing and industrial offices not only focuses on functionality and durability but also emphasizes comfortable and regenerative environments that make employees feel engaged and valued.

This design approach ensures that facility managers meet the demands of modern industrial spaces while helping their organizations attract and retain top talent


Top 5 Workplace Applications from 2023

As we analyzed the above shifts in the workplace, we saw parallel design trends emerge with these top five spaces:

1. Balanced Private & Interactive Workspaces

The quest for equilibrium between privacy and collaboration resulted in designs that featured multifunctional furniture. These areas seamlessly transitioned between private workstations and interactive hubs, providing individuals with autonomy over their work environment while encouraging spontaneous collaboration.


2. Tech-Enabled Training Rooms

In 2023, training rooms became dynamic learning ecosystems. We saw an increased demand for furniture solutions that integrate technology, many featuring adaptable options that cater to various work styles. From connected media platforms to integrated charging modules, these spaces were designed to be interactive, engaging, and conducive to continuous employee development.


3. Hybrid-Friendly Conference Rooms

As the hybrid work model gained traction, conference rooms evolved into hubs facilitating hybrid meetings. Designers engaged furniture for these spaces that encouraged participation from both physical and remote attendees, ensuring seamless connectivity through integrated AV solutions and flexible seating arrangements.


4. Wellness Rooms & Regenerative Spaces

To support workplace well-being, many organizations incorporated modern wellness rooms and regenerative spaces with features like circadian lighting and adaptable furniture, fostering environments that actively promote physical and mental rejuvenation, ultimately nurturing a sense of harmony and holistic well-being for employees.


5. Designated Privacy Stations

Tailored for concentrated tasks as well as alcoves for a quiet respite, these privacy stations weren't specified just for secluded spaces; they were carefully curated for environments equipped with soundproofing elements, ergonomic furniture, and personalized lighting to ensure an optimal atmosphere for undisturbed, productive work sessions or on-demand private moments.


Top 5 Workplace Products of 2023

To support the applications described above, our clients predominantly specified these top five best-selling furniture solutions:

1. Architectural Wall

Beyond demountable partitions, our architectural wall solutions are dynamic elements that redefine spatial boundaries. Our suite of wall solutions offers the best statement of line in the industry with a mix of solid, glass, and combination panel options to adeptly incorporate acoustic properties, adaptable configurations, incredible visual range, and integrated technology to transform open spaces into versatile, functional zones tailored to specific work requirements.


2. Toggle

Our Toggle height-adjustable tables epitomize ergonomic innovation. Widely adaptable within the workplace, these tables integrate power and connectivity such as R8, storage solutions such as Bobbr, cable management such as Vertical Cable Manager, and acoustic and visual privacy with Universal Screens. These options empower users to personalize and organize their workspace while promoting ergonomic comfort to enhance both productivity and well-being.


3. Pirouette

Our multipurpose Pirouette table line isn’t merely a surface solution; it’s a dynamic centerpiece designed to foster collaboration. Arguably the most popular training table in the contract furniture industry, Pirouette has a sleek, modern design with comprehensive features including nesting and height adjustability. This allows Pirouette to seamlessly facilitate transitions between individual workstations and collaborative settings, promoting agility and adaptability in the workplace.


4. Unite

Our Unite System redefines collaboration by offering modular and customizable configurations. From flexible panel or benching arrangements to integrated storage and power solutions, Unite encourages productivity and efficiency, transforming spaces into agile, innovative environments.


5. Connection Zone

The Connection Zone collection epitomizes the essence of connectivity. With multifunctional furniture pieces designed for adaptable use, Connection Zone storage, benching, screens, desks, and conference tables facilitate interaction, collaboration, and ideation, serving as the heartbeat of dynamic workspaces that embrace fluidity and creativity.


Looking Ahead to Workplace Design in 2024

As we transition into 2024, these trends, applications, and products will serve as foundational pillars in approaching strategies for workplace design that prioritize well-being, flexibility, and innovation.

At KI, our commitment to workplace design remains unwavering, as we continue innovating, creating, and adapting our furniture solutions to best meet the needs of the ever-evolving dynamics of the modern workplace. Best of all, our products are designed to work together to provide our clients with a cohesive range of design options to create any environment desired.

So together, let's redefine the future of workspaces through proven design solutions and real-world insights that continually factor in employee feedback. Stay tuned for our 2024 outlook based on trends that advance and transform the modern workplace in terms of productivity, collaboration, and inclusivity.

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Lastly, connect with your dedicated KI representative to discuss how you can integrate these top products and trends in your workspace designs. 


Download the takeaway for our Top 5 Products in Workplace Design.

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by Jonathan Webb  Director of Workplace & Healthcare Markets

Jonathan Webb leads KI’s strategic business units for workplace/private sector and healthcare. Jonathan studies workplace and healthcare trends, uncovers product gaps, and develops solutions with the KI team. Jonathan takes part in advanced workplace and corporate training strategies and documents his findings through white papers, articles, and other publications. His recent publications, Understanding Active Design: The Rise of Human Sustainability and Collegiate Design: The New Driver for Workplace Design, have put Jonathan in the media spotlight. Partnering with thought leaders like AECOM, his publications cover diverse subjects including sit/stand benefits, designing training environments, and defining work styles. Jonathan holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh School of Business and is a LEED-accredited professional.


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