Five Office Design Trends You Need to Know

In the animal kingdom, adaptation is essential for the survival of living organisms in such a way that, if the environment changes, the animals that cannot adapt die out. The same goes for businesses and organizations. If the requirement or standards of society progresses, a company or business must be able to adapt; otherwise, it might just die out or be drastically left behind. As Peter F. Drucker, an Austrian management consultant said, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”



One of the things you can do to move an organization forward is to pay attention to the physiological well-being of the employees. Many organizations consider the office environment as a significantly important factor in having an efficient workforce. Designing office interior to induce productivity and optimizing space for maximum utilization are just a few strategies successful and adaptable companies employ to improve their organizational performances. Here we name 5 office interior trends that you can use to update your office workspace.

1. Dynamic and Flexible Design

As the workforce is becoming younger in the majority, a dynamic and flexible office interior is becoming more in demand and preferred. Such is because the new breed of workforce dislikes the traditional office set-up. They want more personal spaces and they want to be able to work when they want it and where they want it.

Dynamic and flexible workspaces that feature light-weight, movable and multi-functional pieces of furniture could well be the millennial-approved in workspace design. The hallmark of this type of workspace is its ability to be rearranged easily depending on one’s mood or taste. Changing things up from time to time does lighten up the mood and can freshen up perspectives. This design can also turn out to be budget-friendly because it requires minimal set-up time and is also non-permanent. This kind of design property will be beneficial to any future workplace update plans.

2. Modular Office Design

Modular office design does sound like a dynamic and flexible design but modular office design is defined by ‘interchangeability’. You do not just rearrange the pieces of furniture, the furniture themselves can be reconfigured or repurposed. Modular design features pieces of furniture that can be attached and rebuilt to serve different functionalities.

Modular workspace design gives employees infinite possibilities in workspaces and inspires them to be extra imaginative. It is a strategy to help employees stay creative, active, and extremely productive. Employees can easily reimagine their workstation to optimize their time at the office. The modular design also future-proofs an office as it can help an office adjust to meet the changing dynamics of the workplace and employees. (What is Modular Office Design? | Inspiring Workspaces by BOS, 2018)



3. Better Illuminance and Lighting

A previous study conducted by Smolders, de Kort, and Cluitmans (2012) found that a high or good amount of illuminance induces alertness during office hours. The same study concluded that exposure to higher illuminance can improve the employee’s subjective feelings of alertness and at the same time improve measurable performance (Smolders et al., 2012).

Illuminance and lighting aren’t exactly new in industrial design but design strategies in achieving enhanced lighting in workspaces have greatly improved and modernized. Trends nowadays emphasize the use of biophilic design or integration of nature to office spaces and natural lighting through floor-to-ceiling height windows. If such large windows aren’t exactly accessible, the use of traditional lighting by mixing lighting materials will be ideal.

4. Monochromatic Design

Monochromatic is a style that contains or uses only one color. By definition, it does sound like the most boring design; however, monochromatic color designs can make a space look clean, crisp, and elegant. It does a simplistic approach of stripping off the unnecessary and focusing on core functional experience. (A minimalist and monochromatic office design – Build Australia, 2018)

Three elements can help pull off a successful monochromatic interior design and that is choosing the right color palette, choosing a monochromatic textile, and accenting with monochromatic patterns (Lori, 2017). A black and white monochromatic design can transform an old workplace into a sleek and edgy one while a blue monochromatic design can be very playful. This is another way of integrating your brand into your workplace. With smart use of color and patterns, you definitely can make a workplace talk.

5. Sustainability

Office environments seem to continue their transformation from formal and impersonal workplaces to inspired and wellness-focused spaces. This trend is called sustainability. According to a blog called Eco life, sustainable design is a mindful intention to reduce negative environmental impacts through thoughtful design. This means designing with energy-efficient technology, sustainably sourced materials, and other natural and greener choices

Sustainability doesn’t end in greener options; an optimized utilization of the workplace is also encouraged to limit waste in resources, time and even spaces. Sustainability encourages a harmonious relationship between nature and buildings to cultivate environmental wellness. As more and more companies are becoming better-equipped to pursue a sustainable and greener

future, more and more green and sustainable options are also becoming available. Environmental perils have motivated companies – big and small – to participate in sustainable design research and made it a part of their corporate social responsibility as a commitment to society. If more companies will participate in this sustainable design trend, it could set a precedent for the rest of the world to go green as well.

Are you thinking of updating your office space to effect change this year? You should work with an expert. SDW Realty is an experienced general contractor in the Philippines that worked with the biggest brands in the country. We can help you achieve your design visions just like what we did with our other clients. To see our portfolio, click here.

1. A minimalist and monochromatic office design – Build Australia. (2018). Build Australia. https://www.buildaustralia.com.au/gd/the-minimalist-monochromatic-design-behind-candlefoxs-hq/
2. What is Modular Office Design? | Inspiring Workspaces by BOS. (2018, December 17). Inspiring Workspaces by BOS. https://www.bos.com/inspired/what-is-modular-office-design/
3. Sterkenberg, Z. (2019, November 13). Office Futures: The Office Design Trends of 2020. Ambius.Com; Greener on the Inside. https://www.ambius.com/blog/2020-office-design-trends/

The Office Fit-Out Checklist

To be more effective and successful, sometimes our environment has to change. Our immediate environment can trigger many different reactions in us – it can make us happier, it can make us work faster, etc. Changes in workplaces, indeed, has optimization benefits that we may be unaware of, it could be just the catalyst every organization needs to effect changes in one’s outlook.

But an office fit-out project can be an arduous job. Whether a renovation or fitting out a new one, the job can prove to be overwhelming (and expensive!) especially if you don’t plan and execute systematically. If you’re seriously considering an office revamp, you may refer to the checklist below to guide you through handling the whole fit-out project management process.

1. Start with a Brief

Before you proceed with anything else start with understanding the rationale of your fit-out project. Why was it conceived in the first place? Start by finding the reasons why are you doing it in the first place. Is it because your lease is expiring soon? Is it an expansion, a merger, or an acquisition? It could be anything. It could be that you’re moving because you want to be closer to your clients, or you want to redesign working practices. The thing is, if the reason for the project brief is clear, you can be more decisive and effective in pursuing a direction with your project.

2. Select the Team

In building a space or handling fit-out projects, efficiency is key. You have to be able to do numerous tasks simultaneously and that means having to delegate tasks to different people in your organization. Begin by setting up a team that will focus solely on the fit-out project.

a. Project coordinator – Managing the project yourself will take much of your time away from your other business functions. It will add another responsibility to you and you might miss out on important details that keep the business running. That is why having a ‘fit-out champion’ will be very ideal and helpful. The project coordinator or ‘fit-out champion’ can report to you details, timeline, suppliers, to-dos, and progress reports. Just the details that need your decision so the project can move forward.

b. In-house team – You might also want to consider building a team that is composed of representatives from different departments – HR, Finance, IT and Communications, Marketing, Legal, etc. Inputs from every department and function are valued so that the needs of each department will be accounted for in the design. Any operations and design issues from your previous office must be noted so that you can apply improvements in your project.

c. Contractor – While your team is already composed of department experts, a building expert is also a requirement. Contractors have a curated and accredited list of suppliers and subcontractors who can help put your visions to life seamlessly. Contractors can also help you stick and work around your budget.

d. Facilities management – You may also need the help of facility management and building managers especially if your office is located in a high-rise building where your project can obstruct tenants, working hours, and work productivity of other businesses. Facilities management help secure documents, permits, and appropriate building work schedule, as well as, help the accredited suppliers such as suppliers of coffee, printing machines, etc.

3. Set an Objective

Now that you know which direction you’re headed from the brief and have a team to work with, you can now start writing out your main objectives for this project. This objective will be your success metrics after the project is done. Objectives will be as simplistic as being able to have accommodation for 100 employees (and that means having enough tables and chairs), having 5 executive rooms for company executives, including 4 meeting rooms, 2 pantry areas, a receiving area or lobby, and the likes. Such objectives will help the designer and contractors in creating the most fitting office space design.

4. Conduct an Audit

Conducting an audit means tracking and keeping tabs on the company or organization’s existing assets and processes. This process can bring your attention to the things that are working and things that no longer work for your company.

a. Space Occupancy Study – You can begin this by leading a Space Occupancy Study or SOS. SOS lets you gather physical raw data and lets you analyze levels of workplace utilization. This will help you further improve your design objectives.

b. Staff survey – Staff input is also important so you don’t miss any relevant detail. Oftentimes, we have colleagues whose perspectives are crucial to business, health and safety yet aren’t too vocal or persistent to get them across the management. This is the time where we encourage them to share their unique experiences and have the chance to delight them by actually having their sentiments heard and resolved.

c. Storage audit – It is advised for every company to conduct an on-site assessment to keep tabs of equipment and assets to shine a light on how much storage space should be allocated in the design. It is also an opportunity to keep count of the physical assets that you can re-use on your fit-out (which means lesser expense!), and what should be replaced already.

5. Prepare a Budget

Always stick to a budget. While office fit-out is important in employee welfare, you don’t want to end up cutting other budget allocation for skyrocketing construction expenses. You also don’t want to be halting your project or compromising construction integrity by setting the budget too low. You have to be precise and careful about your budgeting approach. Make sure you factor in the occupancy rates, repairs and maintenance, equipment, migration fees, and soft costs such as travel expenses.

You must ensure every expense is accounted for in your budget including floor coverings, carpet, partitions, furniture, and even parking fees. You may also set-up a contingency allowance in your budget should there be any unforeseen factor that may affect your project continuity.

6. Design

Design is like the main ingredient in your office fit-out. The audit results will be the foundation of the design plan. Of course, the design isn’t just the way the office will look, it is why employees and stakeholders can be more productive in the workplace. While designers can do with designing, you should be keen on the following:

a. Block plans – Block plans showing how your space could be allocated to get the best from your resources. Lay down the result of your space occupation study and tell which office spaces you want to highlight or emphasize. You might also want to suggest a more spacious pantry area or extra open spaces accommodate more of your employees.

b. Mood boards – If you have an idea in mind or a brand-specific design guideline, you might as well brief your designer at the early stage of ideation. You may show mood boards that show the themes and colors you want to see in the office. You may also want to discuss the feel and personality you want to induce and mention your preferred materials such as fabrics and finishes.

c. Sustainability – Sustainability has become a trend in construction. Sustainability has become strategic importance when it comes to the long-term saving of a company. For example, the use of more natural light can help you save in long-term energy expenses. You may inquire from your designer regarding how well you can apply sustainability technology in your office fit-out.

While you can make suggestions and be keen on these design details, it’s still highly suggested that you be open to suggestions and new ideas from your designer. They are experts in this field and they can help you a lot in creating a workplace that you and your employees will love.

7. Health and Safety

Last but not the least, make sure your design and project put health and safety at its core. A beautiful and budget-friendly office space might be the goal but the health and safety of the employees, contractors, and visitors is a priority. Make sure you have secured permits and documentation, following building and construction protocols, and operating legally.

If you still need extra guidance, you may contact SDW Realty to help you go through the process. SDW is a construction company in Manila that has experience in design, build and development services for all project sizes. For cost estimation and more information about our services, you may send us your requirements at info@sdwrealty.com. To explore our services, click here.

6 Tips for A Smoother Office Renovation

1. Understand Your Purpose

So, your company has finally decided that it’s about time you conduct an office refurbishment. And you also think it’s perfectly timed since you’ve been hearing your employees murmur about the inconveniences they are having whenever they walk past the creaky hallway; or the lack-luster appeal of your front desk; even that annoying hole that was patched up haphazardly with duct tape near the cafeteria.

There’s a lot of other reasons for pushing a renovation, but mostly, it’s for improving the quality of your office’s surroundings. This would eventually translate as to how much you care about your employees’ workspace and their well-being. Making your employees feel safe and comfortable in doing office renovation could also mean more income for your company, so it’s a win-win.

Before moving to the planning stages, you must ask first ask the following types of questions:

  • Is a renovation the best option?
  • Are we 100% certain relocating isn’t a better option?
  • What are the goals and objectives behind this idea?
  • Is our timing right?
  • Are there any barriers, physical or financial, to completing a successful renovation?

Only after getting the answers should you be able to proceed with the actual thinking of how you want to go about the whole renovation process. This way, your project will serve its purpose of making your company look good, and your employees to perform great.

2. Survey Your Office and Your Surroundings

Now that you understand the purpose of the renovation project, it’s now important for you to get the current standing of your entire establishment and its surroundings. Having a complete audit of the different rooms, furniture, and materials can give you a scope of what you are trying to accomplish during the renovation.

This would also help you make a rough estimate of the budget you should allocate for the entire project and identify the items that could be re-used—remember that any kind of renovation would cost a significant amount of money, so if you can salvage some from your current inventory, it would be best to take note of it or save it for later.

Also, take note of what worked and what didn’t work in your current office setup. This would prevent you from doing the same mistakes. After all, renovations are supposed to make improvements, not just a simple redesign.

3. Device a Renovation Strategy

office renovation strategy

We understand that there is already a lot on your plate, and you have yet to begin the renovation process itself. As mentioned above, this is no easy task. Without proper management, a renovation could turn into a nightmare fast. To prevent this, it would be best to speak with experts in the field of construction and design and take their word as guidelines. It’s also too great to seek out professionals to manage and help you plan the entire project from start to finish.

A most common piece of advice you can get from them would be to create a checklist of the things you must do divided into tasks and subtasks. This way, it would be easier to keep track of your project’s progress.

4. Keep Everyone Involved, Stay Involved

During the renovation process, you will be working with a lot of different people. They must be properly aligned with each other about what they do and when they need to do it before them joining the project. This reduces the amount of wait-around time of people whose tasks are dependent on others—effectively eliminating delays in the project.

As the point-of-contact of the renovation, you would be tasked with keeping everyone updated about the progress or any delays to keep the team on the same track throughout the renovation. This also gives the people your working with a feeling of inclusion and appreciation. You’re not working with robots so a simple “how’s everything going?” goes a long way.

5. Keep Working

It’s easy to get distracted by all the noise and activity of the on-going construction for your office fit-out. Don’t let all the distractions get to you and your employees and proceed to do your regular work business-as-usual.

Your company must remain productive throughout the whole renovation process. You have already spent quite the sum to make the renovation possible, the last thing your company needs are more losses in revenue just because of unproductivity.

6.Transition Like a Pro

Lastly, when all the dust settles, it’s now time to move into the newly renovated office space. Anticipate a tremendous surge of energy coming from everyone and don’t be overwhelmed by it because it’s perfectly understandable—given all the hype that was building-up while the constructions were on-going. That being said, it would be best to plan the transition months before the project completion. This will give you enough time to delegate who will move-in first and where they will be allocated.

It would also be good for your leaders to conduct a tour of the newly renovated space a few weeks before opening, just to give your employees an idea of where they’re supposed to work. This is important as the first measure of success for your renovation would be your employees’ reactions. Again going back to tip #1, if the purpose of the renovation has been fulfilled, you can expect good feedback. And if you manage to surprise them with something extra, something that exceeds their expectations, you will know directly from them and realize that all the effort is worth it.

3 Reasons Why Redesigning Your Office Could Mean More Income

Redesigning your office fit-out is not just changing the color schemes of your corridor or moving some desks and furniture. It’s more about changing the overall vibe, look, and feel of your entire workspace. It should represent your company’s desire for growth and should inspire your people to work more productively.


In the Philippines, interior designers and contractors are moving at a great pace catching up on international competitors and applying the trends and designs for office fit-out making the country more globally competitive in the field. This kind of growth bodes well for those who are bold enough to venture into the intricate process of office redesign as contractors are always expected to put their best foot forward to edge out their competitors.

Now, you’re probably thinking that redesigning your office would cost your company a great loss, and in a sense, you’re right. From planning, designing, to the construction itself, it would require a significant amount of time and money. However, this kind of expense is somewhat unavoidable and does have its benefits and, if you plan well enough, could easily return a profit.

Here, we have collected 3 ways on how having a redesign could help your business get more income to help you decide if it’s already time for you to jump-in the interior fit-out bandwagon.

1. A redesign can increase employee productivity

If done right, not only that you’ll get a new fresh look for your office, but you’ll also give your employees a boost. In 2017, millennials (ages 21 to 36) hold the majority of the workforce. It would be reasonable for office culture and perks to be tailored to this generation. An open-office layout is more enjoyable for millennials as it fosters a high-energy environment that eventually drives their productivity. And the more productive your people are, well, the more the clients’ investments flow in.

Transcom open-plan office space layout

Putting your employees in a cubicle just wouldn’t work anymore in this day and age.

The overall decor of the workspace brings a significant impact on people’s mood, creativity, and inspiration. You wouldn’t be surprised if you ask your employees about what their dream office would look like, and the majority of the answers are Google or Facebook. These companies have taken into account the trends in design and incorporate it with the creativity of their employees. As a result, Facebook has recently been named as the best workplace of 2018, and Googleplex stands as the benchmark when it comes to tech campuses.

2. Fresh Designs Attract the Best Talents and Clients

Your office is the face of your company. It is where your employees work, and your clients put their investment on. With this said, you wouldn’t want people coming into the office and be thrown-off by how lame the place is.

Designing the office to become dynamic and vibrant not only adds to the overall appeal, but it also caters creativity and inspiration towards not just your current employees and clients, but also to those who aspire to be your future employees and clients.

Telus Office Fit Out

For example, adding a comfortable and cozy breakout area where employees can relax and socialize with their peers which could also translate to them being revitalized and ready to go through their day blazing. Spaces like these could also serve as an avenue for impromptu meetings that could spark new inspired ideas without the confining walls of a conference room. Lastly, when aspiring applicants come to visit, and they see how your office fit-out nurtures employees, you’ll make them say, “I want to work here.”

3. Less is more

The times have truly changed, and the era of large furniture has gone. Today, space is a very valuable commodity that no one dares ignore. By investing in the systematic use of space allows you to veer away from wasting your company’s hard-earned resources on unnecessary paperweights.

Atlassian Space efficient design

Cubicles and dividers are a thing of the past. Sure, they provide privacy, but it blocks communication between your employees. It eats up space meant for interaction, and makes the workplace feel like a prison—and in all honesty, that would be the worst-case scenario.

Having a design that can transform with the needs of your people would not only help them be better with what they do, but it would also help your company to be more flexible in the long run.

In the end, it’s not just about the income anymore. Giving your employees an environment where they can enjoy working is one of the main keys to your company’s success. After all, the workplace is essentially the body of your business. It’s best to pay close attention to taking care of it, eventually, you will reap the rewards—yes, that includes a reasonable return on your investment.

To help you decide if it’s time to give your office fit-out a do-over, please see SDW’s portfolio and be inspired by what we can do for you.

5 Tips for Interior Fit Out Designs to Bring Out the Best in Your Employees

The office. It goes by different names: gray hell, the box, Alcatraz—you get the picture. But it doesn’t necessarily have to remain that way. The concept of interior fit-out allows business owners to re-imagine the design and build of their establishments to make it more conducive for their employees and make work-life more enjoyable.


Take Google for example. They have created some of the most creative, unique, and fun workspace there is and the outcome of their work is still viral to this day. Surely their designs have made a tremendous impact on today’s architecture and construction scene and many other contractors have followed the trend and in doing so, it improved the lives of their employees by leaps and bounds.

Here we have gathered 5 essential tips to give your employees a boost just by tweaking your office interior.


1. Greenery and Natural Lighting


biophilic design


Humans naturally desire to be connected with nature—biophilia as scientists call it. It would only make sense to let in natural light and add something green in the place humans spend their time in; for most adults, that place would be the office.

There have been numerous studies that have proven the positive effects of biophilic design in the workspace. Here are some benefits to having plants near the workstation:

Reduces stress

A 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney, found significant reductions in stress among workers when plants were introduced to their workspace. Results included a 37% fall in reported tension and anxiety; a 58% drop in depression or dejection; a 44% decrease in anger and hostility; and a 38% reduction in fatigue.

Increases productivity

Employees’ productivity jumps 15% when previously ‘lean’ work environments are filled with just a handful of houseplants, according to 2014 research by the University of Exeter.

Reduces sickness and absence rates

Some experts argue that adding plants to the work environment can help to reduce the risk of sick building syndrome. Symptoms of sick building syndrome get worse the longer a person stays in a particular building and eventually get better after they leave.

Cleans the air

This is no secret, but it would be helpful to be reminded that nature performs miracles every day. Photosynthesis is a process used by plants to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Your employees would be able to breathe fresh air every day without costing a single cent.

2. Maximize Space


flexible office space design


From a business standpoint, every square inch of an establishment costs money that’s why it would be wise to utilize every corner of the office. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need to fill the nooks-and-crannies with a bunch of unneeded stuff, it just means to maximize the available space. Here are some solutions to help you accomplish this:

Let there be light

Your office may not have a lot of equipment, but having ample lighting is enough to make it look bigger. Adding more windows that allow natural light to come in may just do the trick. It is also known to raise alertness and productivity levels.

Veer away from heavy furniture

Oversized dark-colored furniture may trick the eyes into believing that space is smaller than it is.

Remain flexible

Instead of building concrete walls, use dividers or folding walls that can easily be removed to transform your office space. You can also use collapsible or movable tables, desks, and chairs. This way, you can freely use the same pieces of furniture for other functions when needed. With this, you can transform a double-room space into a bigger single-room perfect for a small team to conduct their collaborative meetings.

Go vertical

There are plenty of ways you can save space by filing your documents. Offices that feature extensive wall space make use of a vertical filing system, in particular, to allow for optimal utilization of that wall space.

3. Clutter-Free


minimalist office design


Your office is a sanctuary, a holy place where you’ve invested your life’s work. You can’t allow it to become cluttered otherwise, your employees will start feeling uneasy, or worse, someone could even get hurt in an accident. Here are some office hacks to keep the workspace clutter-free:

  • Make space for a multitasking message board.
  • Create an order with drawer organizers and use color-coding on your files.
  • Corral chaotic cables or go cord-free.
  • Divide your office into task-related work zones for maximum efficiency.
  • Set up a paper-processing station.
  • Schedule regular maintenance.
4. Quality Furniture


quality office furniture
Just like in any remodeling project, upgrades are necessary to acquire better results. You wouldn’t need to replace everything, but adding quality materials to your office is one way to make your employees feel appreciated. Replacing their old desks and chairs with fine tables and comfortable seats would go a long way in setting up the right mood in the workplace.

Spending an ample amount of resources to get higher quality furniture will be worth every penny in the long run. Boring office furniture tends to make employees lazy and uninspired, it also results in people feeling irritated and clumsy by the mountains of work on their desk. Being surrounded with boring furniture, individuals oftentimes lose interest in work and it’ll affect someone’s productivity to a large extent.

5. Cozy Lobby


lobby interior design


Your office lobby can also be called the ‘face’ of your company. It’s the first thing that greets the first time visitors, interested applicants, and employees to begin their day. It’s imperative to make the lobby as awesome and as welcoming as possible.

Say, you are a visitor in a company, the last thing you want is a lobby that doesn’t have a welcoming vibe; if you’re a job applicant, it would help if the waiting area is less tense and have comfortable seats; if you’re an employee, you wouldn’t want to see the same cold and boring hall every single day. These are the things you wouldn’t want people to think when they first set foot in your office. After all, first impressions do last, so no need to hold back in designing your lobby.

There you have it, with these tips in your arsenal, your office space would be a wonderland for your employees. They may even get the word out and recommend your company to their peers and new applicants would just swarm in. Your visitors would be impressed that they may finally sign that contract with you. Investing in designing or redesigning your office fit-out would prove to be very beneficial in one way or another.

Do you find interior design interesting? Contact us for a consultation with our professional interior designer. You can also click here to see our portfolio.