Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees

Welcome to the topic “Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees”

Many businesses have developed creative solutions to keep workplace safety a major priority while preserving corporate culture, ensuring high levels of productivity and efficiency, and encouraging a much-needed sense of employee well-being.

As you begin to welcome your employees back to the office, consider implementing these office space trends into your work environment to encourage and entice employees to return! 

Below are some of the latest Office Space Trends in Chicago, but you’re likely to see them in other major cities as well. 

Top 3 Office Space Trends in Chicago


The importance of sustainability has increased across numerous industries, including commercial real estate and workplace design. Businesses constantly seek methods to make their workplaces more sustainable and green, affecting product and design innovations.

Sustainable design begins with the purchasing process; it goes beyond having enough recycling bins in your office. Businesses are investing more effort in developing sustainable workplaces that support Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to lure employees to their locations. 

Environmental office design supports carbon net zero aspirations and other sustainable objectives.

Building a workspace with sustainability in mind may be done in various ways. Businesses may quickly reduce their environmental effect by implementing high-efficiency systems, adopting LED lighting, utilizing natural light and passive ventilation, keeping low-emission products, and reusing or repurposing furniture. 

Neurodiverse Environments

Several factors are being introduced into offices with more emphasis as businesses move toward creating more inclusive workplaces. 

Neurodiversity describes the variations in how people’s brains work and the many ways information is perceived.  

Office design is a crucial facilitator in ensuring that workers play to their strengths since workplace settings have the power to either help or restrict productivity and capacity. 

A new office trend is to create office spaces that are more inclusive for individuals with additional needs and  provide support for various working demands. 

This includes creating in office locations for peaceful work, spaces with adjustable light and sound, and the thoughtful choice of colors or materials to assist with creating relaxing settings. 

These office design elements enhance inclusive workplaces and aid in talent acquisition and retention.

Chicago Office Space Trends - How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees
Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees

Smart Offices

Companies can better understand when and how various rooms are being used because of smart buildings’ ability to gather and exchange data.

Our reliance on digital information has grown as a result of remote working. Digital sensors are used in intelligent workspaces to track and react to variables, including occupancy, air quality, and natural light levels. 

Other technological solutions, such as desk booking applications, will aid in preserving a smooth staff flow, guaranteeing that only one person touches a particular desk each day, and removing the potential for being unable to separate oneself appropriately socially.

Tips to Design Your Office for Returning Employees

Rearrange the Furniture

Businesses’ most significant concern is getting their staff back to work as soon and securely as possible. 

To do this, many businesses are looking to upgrade or completely redesign their office space to create a more welcoming and incentivized workplace for employees to return. 

The quickest approach to achieve this is to arrange the current workplace furniture in a way that not only adheres to the newest health guidelines, but also give more flexibility and comfort to their overall space.. 

Employee workstations should ideally be large enough to provide ample space to spread out print materials while also being close enough to promote community and occasional conversation. 

Other furniture can be moved around or even removed to provide extra room.  

Install Comfort Spaces 

One of the biggest trends in commercial space is to install comfort areas that make employees and clients feel more at home. 

Having interactive/ innovative art pieces, adding more curves in the architecture, and increasing natural light exposure in a space helps to eliminate stale business aesthetics and promotes vibrancy and engagement. 

This helps to add more energy and draw to the space.

Reception areas are a great place to start utilizing comfort spaces. Most open offices have a reception room where clients, customers, and other guests are usually welcomed by staff and invited to sit or take a cup of coffee while awaiting their appointment.

These areas can be repurposed as comfort spaces or upgrades as luxury lounge areas to include self service beverage bars, prepackaged snacks, music, lounge furniture, sanitation stations, etc.

The key with comfort spaces is to be creative and think out of the box to give people (employees and clients alike) a unique sense of comfort and belonging in the space. 

Chicago Office Space Trends - How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees
Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees

Introduce New Policies for the Maximum Capacity at the Office

Of course, when fewer people are present in the building, establishing spacing amongst personnel is simpler. 

Many businesses are using a gradual strategy to welcome staff back to the workplace, including hybrid scheduling to promote a mix of personnel volume onsite.

Hybrid scheduling also allows for more communal events like breakfast buffets and office-wide gatherings while complying with safety rules. The importance of company gatherings and forming a sense of community has been heightened in recent years, and hybrid schedules is one of the best and safest ways of reintroducing those gatherings back into the workplace. 

Hybrid schedules also grants employees a greater amount of flexibility in the workplace, aiding in retention and motivation. Giving employees more options for setting their schedules helps in providing a more secure work life balance, and shows employer commitment to improving the health and wellness of employees. 


We believe the workplace will significantly transform in the coming years, and many changes will come in the form of these Office Space Trends that are being seen in Chicago and many other places. 

Currently, the traditional office is being reimagined as a place to network, collaborate, and create a sense of community for employees, and it will continue to change  quickly to better meet the demands of its users and the overall workforce. 

What business owners need to prepare for right now is securing the right space to implement these changes and trends to re-engage their workforce and motivate a stronger desire to return to the office. 

If you’ve been paying attention to your local market, you already know that there is plenty of office space available right now – and that the leverage is high on the side of the tenant to lock in a good deal with great concessions. 

You also already know that operating a fully remote place of business is leading to less productivity and a wanning or nonexistent company culture.

Chicago Office Space Trends - How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees
Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees

So, if you are wondering “how do we intentionally design our space to make our people want to come back into the office and be together again?”

We have the solution for you. 

Tenant Advisory Group has recently partnered with a design firm focused on commute-worthy workplaces created to encourage your team members to get back to the office. 

We would love the chance to sit down together to discuss a process that can help you navigate the ideal design for your individual business.

Contact us today to talk about designing a space that will motivate your team to want to come!

Have any questions about “Chicago Office Space Trends – How to Design Your Office for Returning Employees”, leave a comment below. 

Also read: How to get employees back to the office