modern office design Office Design office layout office redesign Office Renovation

Modern Office Design: How Corporate Design Trends Can Help Increase Employee Productivity

Many employees recently set up temporary home offices . . . and recognized their shortcomings. Now, as organizations welcome employees back to the office, modern office design is being recognized as a priority. What does modern office design look like? What advantages does a modern office space offer to employees and management? How can open plan offices adapt post-COVID?

Modern office design prioritizes flexibility of space and creating environments for employee collaboration. The ideal office design is clean, inviting, incorporates natural light, and leverages technology to further promote connectivity and productivity. For example, shared benching workstations have worked well for many organizations. They facilitate collaboration and employees enjoy the camaraderie they invite. But the new need for physical distancing is a challenge that can be solved with design and furnishings.


Now more than ever, in-office teams need formal and informal spaces that safely allow small groups to meet and feel comfortable. If you have an open office floor plan, creating gathering places may require new furnishings. A small cluster of high-top meeting tables invites employees to gather for stand-up meetings. Seating areas may take the look of a lounge and welcome cross-functional teams to a common place to congregate and share ideas. These spaces should be comfortable for all – seated or standing – and should encourage interaction without feeling crowded.

If your current office design suffers from uneven usage (some areas are overcrowded, others like a ghost town) an updated design could deliver real value. As teams move back to the office creating flexible usage space can help solve immediate space challenges and encourage the relationship building conversations that bring colleagues, in-office and remote, together.

Consider what changes can made to make the most of your square footage. Do not think extremes – hard walled offices with solid doors or rows and rows of cubicles – think flexible spaces. Small window-less conference rooms (with all the charm of an interrogation room) can be combined to create open spaces with or without a door. Incorporate sliding glass panels to serve as translucent white boards and aesthetically pleasing room dividers for this flexible use space. Another design option to consider is the creation of small “quiet zones”. These can be small nooks in your floorplan or take the shape of over-sized phone booths that provide employees with a dedicated space to block out noise and distractions between meetings. These small spaces provide the privacy within the workplace that many employees crave. If you have the square footage, incorporate individual workstations. Physical barriers can help reduce noise as well as provide employees the sense of protection needed in today’s modern office design.


Productivity in the modern corporate office means balancing individual work and collaboration time. Walled meeting rooms certainly have their place in modern office design. Materials such as glass give literal as well as figurative transparency to business activity. Depending on your office layout, carving out new meetings rooms can give you the opportunity to update your color palette as well as incorporate natural light. The most important detail of your new conference room: technology. An investment in upgraded technology and wiring will be appreciated by all employees, in-office and remote.

Today’s modern conference room is wired for connectivity and ease of use. The days of “everyone” being in the office for the same work hours, Monday through Friday, appears to be a thing of the past. Businesses must adapt to the ever-growing remote workforce. Adding a remote colleague to an impromptu meeting should not take an IT degree. Strong audio and video are critical to a connectivity, so your modern meeting room design should include a large screen and adjustable lighting. A productive team is a well-connected team, and including colleagues from other offices, those working from home, as well as vendors should be quick and simple.


Modern office design can be a comfortable blending of old and new. If you are in a historical building, embrace any exposed brick, high ceilings, or unique features your space offers. From there, give a nod to nature with soft colors, material finishes and fabrics. A new conference rook table and fresh coat of paint will not update your entire space, but do not underestimate the value of investing in modern design for your office. Employees, clients, and vendors may be anxious but eager to return to the office. Give them a fresh, welcoming, and well-designed interior to encourage communication, collaboration, and productivity.


If contemplating an update to a more modern office design for your commercial interior, consider all the opportunities a re-design affords you:

  • Improve and equalize usage of your square footage
  • Upgrade your office’s interior furnishings
  • Reduce and spread out density of employee work zones
  • Create new spaces and an environment that supports employee communication and productivity

Let us help. Key Interiors is a full service commercial interior renovation and design, build, project management team. We work with clients to create modern office designs. Contact us today to discuss your project.

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Conference Rooms Office Design office layout office redesign Office Renovation

Effective Meetings & Conference Spaces Post-COVID

Months after the novel coronavirus first made headlines, we are all still adjusting to the new, post-COVID world. And, while the work from home world may be one we’re getting used to, in-person meetings will never go away completely. How and where we interact, professionally, will look different. Preparing your commercial office space for the post-COVID era means reviewing the design and functionality of all conference rooms.

Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Conference Room Evaluation Criteria

In-office workers may need to collaborate in a quiet space with other office colleagues, or those outside. Whether connecting with vendors, clients, or colleagues in another office, a professional conference room is important to promoting professional communication. Rooms of all sizes should be evaluated for the following four criteria:

  • Easy to Clean Furnishings
  • Audio & Video Connectivity
  • Ample Personal Space
  • HVAC Controls & Ventilation
Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Your existing conference rooms may just need some new furnishings to allow for distancing and thorough cleaning. Many employees are excited to return to the office, so updated furnishings will genuinely be appreciated. Investing in your office space sends a real message. As we all know, connectivity has never been more important. The ability to connect your laptop, screen share, and see your outside participants on a sizeable screen is essential. Nothing wastes more meeting time than poor audio and video connectivity.

Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price

Social Distancing Within the Conference Room

If you have the space, build your conference room large enough to allow for up to 8 people to be in the room with 6 feet around them. Another option to consider, if you have the square footage, is a single a large space that can be divided into two smaller spaces that easily allow for four people per “room”. You may consider have these “rooms” divided by a soundproof moveable wall.

If you have tight square footage restraints for your multi-person conference room, individual desks and/or clear plastic hygiene shields are an option. We are furnishing experts and can help find the size and shape table that makes the most of your space and allows the recommended 6 feet between attendees.

Creating spaces that make your employees comfortable returning to work is an essential part of our world today. We have to be creative and think differently about collaboration and how our office spaces can allow for physical distancing and in-person communication and collaboration.

Key Interiors has the expertise and resources to help design or reconfigure your conference rooms. Please contact us to discuss your individual project needs.

Call 877.288.9919 or Contact Us

Exterior Office Design

Commercial Exterior Renovation: What to Consider Before Your Next Project

As the economy begins to recover – shoppers return to retail and employees make their way back to the office – the buildings they return to should offer a true welcoming. More than just places of business, commercial spaces serve as the setting for professional collaboration, commerce, and the “normalcy” we are all looking for. As a property owner, what are you doing to signal that you are open for business? What message is your building exterior sending?

Today’s Trends

Commercial exterior trends are changing. Glass has dominated as one of the most popular building materials in commercial design for around 50 years, but property owners recognize this material has its shortcomings. Glass is not energy efficient, nor is it the most secure. Too often, commercial exteriors lack personality and give off a “cold” feeling. Look to Mother nature as a source of design inspiration. Wood is a beautiful and flexible material to work with and can help take years off your design. Natural stone of all kinds can also add warmth and depth to your exterior. Consider how material and color work together to provide a fresh appeal. 

Energy Efficiency

After considering the value of an aesthetic update, factor in the cost savings of energy efficient design and materials. Energy efficient windows are just one example of how material choice can reduce heating and cooling bills and add to your operating bottom line. Your building exterior material choice is also an opportunity to increase energy efficiency. Brick and stucco are traditional choices, but don’t overlook new materials such as architectural panel systems. These panels can be made of resin, metal, or composite material. They quickly clad large spaces, add a layer of insultation, and make a bold statement.

Secure Style

Property security is always a factor to consider in the exterior design/remodel process. Accessibility to employees, tenants and visitors must be balanced with the security needs of your commercial space. Both design and material choice can help prevent break-ins, deter shoplifting, and provide lighting to secure entrances. When considering an exterior remodel, take advantage of the opportunity to review the following:

  • New security systems available
  • Lighting to enhance your building’s appeal
  • Lighting to help deter crime
  • Material choices that provide security (stone, wood, masonry – not glass)

‘Tis the Season

It’s not too late to begin a summer/fall exterior renovation. Now is the time to start the planning process and make the most of the long summer days. Minor updates not requiring city permitting or plan review can be completed in a short time frame. Larger scale projects that involve permitting generally take longer to get started, but Key Interiors consultative approach means we work with you every step of the process to ensure that your exterior design/build is completed on budget and on time.

The Key Difference

When considering an exterior remodel to your commercial building, Key Interiors provides you with a comprehensive and educational design/build process, as well as the “full toolbox” of material choices. For example, when updating windows, it is important to understand the cost difference between aluminum and vinyl frames. Depending on placement, vinyl clad windows could be a great cost savings. Many general contractors can quote you a price per square foot, but those estimates are “industry standard” and do not include custom design or material choices beyond the basics. Key Interiors consultative approach means that we share all options, all vendors, and educate clients throughout the process.

If you are considering an exterior remodel to your commercial building, contact Key Interiors to learn more about our process and the Key Difference.

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