Traditional vs modern office designs

Traditional vs modern office designs

Featured image: MSV Housing, Manchester

There are many variations of office design, from bold and creative to calming and neutral. However, one of the largest contrasts between office styles is whether they are traditional or modern. If you are looking to undertake an office refurbishment, then it can be helpful to differentiate between the two aesthetics. Keep reading to learn more about traditional vs modern office designs.

What makes a traditional office design?

A traditional office design is usually characterised by a more segmented layout, with employees working in their own private space. There may be lots of dividers on long desks, and an individual work style, rather than one of collaboration. Traditional offices also normally have more plain decoration, avoiding bright colours on walls and opting for plain, traditional furniture. You will often see solid, wooden desks in a traditional office, or smaller cubicles with a plain design.

Although traditional office design doesn’t sound all too exciting, many companies opt to keep their old office style out of convenience. Older styles of office often uphold the hierarchy of the workplace – the boss will have their own office, whereas employees with less status often share a workspace. Departments also usually have clear divides between them, which reduces the ease of internal communication. It’s for this reason that some businesses may not update their office design, or perhaps they just haven’t managed to get round to it.

What makes a modern office design?

A modern office design can mean many things, but it often incorporates an open plan design and has an atmosphere of collaboration. It is often sleek and sometimes minimalistic, but can also incorporate exciting design elements such as in our design for A modern office design is often much more creative and fun than a traditional one, changing with the times as companies place more focus on a positive, healthy work culture. Recent office design trends have seen bright, open spaces, as well as breakout rooms and touchdown areas to diversify what the office has to offer. Take a look at our wide range of projects to take inspiration from diverse and inspiring office designs.

Should you choose a traditional or modern office design?

So, what’s better – a traditional or a modern office design? Well, although a more traditional company may prefer the aesthetic of a traditional office, companies of any size and sector are able to use a modern office design to their advantage. As research surrounding workplace health and safety becomes more advanced, we are learning more and more about the importance of good ergonomics – something which the traditional office usually overlooks. The health and productivity of employees should always be at the forefront of any great office design, so that’s why the majority of offices are opting for modern features. 

Beyond Manchester office design

Traditional office decor can often be extremely dated and drab, which can have negative effects on the mood of your employees, as well as the overall atmosphere of your workplace. A modern office design doesn’t mean that your space has to look futuristic or be saturated with colour – take a look at our work at Beyond, Manchester, for example. This design incorporates high quality ergonomics and a functional, collaborative layout, whilst still highlighting the traditional architecture and exposed brick of the building. 

Modern offices can make use of countless aesthetic choices and ergonomically sound furniture, where traditional designs may be limited to certain choices. So, for the wellbeing of your employees, as well as the overall look of your office space, a modern office design is the best choice for the vast majority of businesses.

What are the benefits of a modern office design?

We touched on the benefits of modern office design previously, but let’s go a little more into depth about exactly why a modern office design could be the perfect fit for your company.


We can’t stress enough the importance of an ergonomic office design in keeping employees happy and healthy. Modern office designs should incorporate ergonomic furniture and design in order to prevent issues such as back pain and neck strain. The open plan, collaborative atmosphere of a modern office is often much better for employee wellbeing than a workplace that leaves them feeling isolated and lonely. Overall, modern office designs will benefit the comfort of employees by incorporating the latest ergonomic technology.

Better communication

Modern office design places lots of emphasis on communication and collaboration. This is ideal for getting those creative juices flowing, or simply building an amicable work environment for all employees. Where traditional designs may separate departments, a modern office design embraces free communication and can improve the way that all aspects of your business work together. Read more about how to design a collaborative office space in our article.

Flexible working

As a wider change due to the Coronavirus pandemic, to name just one reason, more workplaces are deciding to embrace flexible working. This often means employees aren’t in the office every work day, and may split their time between working remotely and in the office. This is certainly a modern approach to working, so shouldn’t your office reflect this, too? Employees won’t want to come from their homes into an outdated office that doesn’t allow for socialisation. Creating a modern, collaborative office environment means that employees can catch up and collaborate when they’re not working from home, as well as reflecting the culture of your workplace.

Boost your brand image

No brand wants to be known as old-fashioned. Experienced, of course – but you can still highlight your years of great work whilst keeping up with the times. When clients, visitors or potential employees visit your office, you want to wow them and create an outstanding impression of your company. What better way than by having a bright, sophisticated modern office design that’ll leave visitors wanting to come back.

Employees feel more valued

Although including employee perks can help to make employees feel valued, the office that they spend so much time in should also reflect their value to the company. By investing in a stunning office fit out, employees will feel valued, which will motivate them to keep up the impressive work they’re already doing. Create a productive yet relaxing space for employees to work from, and they may even look forward to coming into the office.

Are you interested in what the office of the future could look like? No need to wait – get in touch with us to start planning your new dream office.