Trends in the Workplace: NeoCon 2018

This post was co-authored by Megan Lamontagne, Amanda Johnson and Julie Nelligan

Some of our talented designers, Amanda Johnson, Megan Lamontagne and Julie Nelligan, traveled to Chicago for NeoCon 2018.  This annual event is the cornerstone for innovation in the design industry; and this year the trends presented focused on comfort, technology, collaboration & individualism, and mobility.

Workplace Trends

Workspaces that Increase Productivity through Flexibility and Mobility

Traditional, isolated and sedentary style workspaces are officially a thing of the past. Designing collaborative and individual spaces to be “in the buzz”, according to Julie Nelligan, through work pods and phone pods, as well as updating traditional-style conference spaces to be more inclusive. This inclusivity can be done by implementing the use of glass walls, module wall panels, or translucent separation.

Addressing the sedentary life-style of the office now has a technological twist. Sit-to-Stand desks are now being incorporated with Mobile Apps to help employees know when to stand. Herman Miller has an incredibly innovative LiveOS system to encourage employee wellness through connecting both their Sit-to-Stand desks and ergonomic chairs.

To support the needs for increased productivity Spaces are now becoming defined by the use of furniture rather than built in elements; this is allowing for workstations to becoming multi-use and collaborative.


Aesthetics & Décor

Décor is no longer just there for aesthetic appeal. Promoting employee health, reinforcing brand identity, and increasing the mobility and productivity of spaces are now key components of office décor that need to be considered. Biophilic Environments are becoming increasingly popular; they consist of workspaces that incorporate plants, natural materials and light into office environments to promote employee’s health and happiness.


Simultaneously, décor is being incorporated that reflects individual organizations brand identity. Branding and brand identity is becoming increasingly important, so it’s a natural progression to have that branding reflected in the décor of your workspaces.

Straps, handles, and caster are décor elements that are now being integrated into tons of furniture pieces to help increase the mobility of spaces. One of Megan Lamontagne’s favorite examples of the use of leather straps and casters with ottomans: adding a strap to an ottoman allows it to transform its use case, “You need to do group work? pull that ottoman to the coffee table and use it as a seat. You want to relax on a lounge chair by yourself? - pull that ottoman away from the coffee table and up to the lounge chair your sitting on for a little foot rest.”

The concept of Resi-Mercial Space emphasizes the idea of creating environments that are more comfortable and flexible to every employee’s needs. Rather than adding more traditional collaborative and individual workstations like conference rooms and desks, adding spaces with couches, or individual work pods.

Product Trends

  • Integrating technology into materials (color changing film, interactive monitors/tables);

  • Blush pink, golds, and emerald green (60’s inspired) are trending from flooring, fabric, wallcovering and furniture;

  • Accents like bold flooring, and neon signage; and retro graphics

  • Fabric trends are starting to include:

    • Geometric, tribal/ethnic patterns,

    • Felt & Velvet (felt even includes some acoustic properties!)

      • Moving away from Vinyl’s and High-Performance Materials to accommodate comfort, hospitality and luxury instead

    • Mohair fabric


One thing that our designer Amanda Johnson is very excited about, is that some new patterns and shapes are finally starting to come into design!

Did you attend NeoCon 2018, or follow along on social, and see any trends you love?