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Eight office trends for 2018

As suggested by workplace guru Professor Jeremy Myerson

1 Flex-Space: As large companies shrink their corporate footprints and seek out flexible alternatives, the co-working juggernaut will be unstoppable.

2 Biophilia: 2018 will be a big year for bringing nature into the workplace to boost wellbeing. Not just plants, but also natural materials, such as slate and hemp. Tech-enabled robotic plants will make their entry too.

3 Superfoods: In a fresh bid to improve performance and productivity, companies will focus on the links between nutrition and neuroscience and offer employees a diet to sharpen the brain.

3 Chatbots: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will switch from science fiction to a workplace near you in 2018, with chatbots leading the charge. The discourse will swing from robots taking our jobs to humans having to do the work of robots.

4 Smart Precincts: A big year ahead, not just for smart buildings but also for smart precincts, the building blocks of digital cities. Digital districts like Hudson Yards or King’s Cross are set to blend mixed-use developments with smart services.

6 Mindfulness: The big health and wellbeing accent in 2018 will be on the mind rather than the body. Mental health will top the agenda, as days lost through stress, anxiety, depression and burnout cut into corporate profits.

7 Narrative: The workplace brandscape will make a comeback in 2018, but the storytelling element will be more abstract and subtle than the overtly branded statement interiors of the early 2000s.

8 Data Analysts: 2018 will be a breakthrough year for collecting data in the workplace through smart sensors and beacons. The key question will switch from how we collect the data to what we do with it. In-house data analysts could be the answer.

Professor Jeremy Myerson is the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art and director of the WORKTECH Academy, a community of professionals interested in the future of work and the workplace.

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