May 28, 2024

Modern Office Fitouts: The Ultimate Guide

Businesses have adapted in all types of ways to meet the needs of the post-pandemic worker. Wellness initiatives are an integral part of a team’s morning routine. Some workplaces are even giving employees the choice to work when they are at their most productive, even if it’s not the usual 9 to 5.

All of these internal initiatives have sprung from adjustments to living in a pandemic. But when it came time to return to work, very little focus or attention was given to how we could optimise our physical spaces for better work and wellbeing. Which is where this guide comes in.

Below we’ve collected all the ideas we’re seeing in modern office fitouts in Melbourne, along with some innovative design ideas we’re seeing in modern office spaces around the world. Whether you are a landlord or business owner, this guide offers must-have inspiration to get you started on your fitout.

Supra Capital Office Fitout 6 FocusFillWzIwMDAsMTYwMCwieCIsNDIxXQ

What is an Office Fitout?

Let’s start with the basics: what is an office fitout? At its core, a fitout refers to the process of customising and outfitting a commercial space to align with the unique needs and aspirations of a business. It goes beyond mere aesthetics; a well-executed office fitout harmonises functionality, brand identity, and employee well-being.

Office fitouts are not templated blueprints filled with office pods, partitions and the occasional meeting room. The best fitouts are designed to be industry-specific. Physical elements don't inhibit but enhance employee workstyles. Cutting-edge technology makes work more efficient. Sustainable material choices help to lower running costs and could contribute to employee wellbeing. 

Building a fitout requires a holistic approach and complete analysis of where the business is at, and where it wants to go.

Recommended Reading: What is a Fitout? A Guide to Transformational Workspaces


How to Design the Modern Office Fitout

We work on hundreds of fitouts in and around Melbourne yearly. In the past few years, businesses have completely adjusted to post-pandemic work. Unfortunately, office spaces have not kept up with the trends and are not conducive to productive work and employee happiness. The modern office fitout needs to address all these factors so that it can evolve into a place where people look forward to work. Here are a few ideas to help your business get started on this journey.

Enspire Office Fitout 6 FocusFillWzE0MDAsMTY4OCwieCIsNTY2XQ

1. Creating a Flexible Space for Work

With office attendance higher than pre-pandemic levels, modern offices should incorporate more functionality into their fitouts. This means having multipurpose spaces that can flex and transform depending on the type of work being performed. Modular desk furniture that can come together to make a collaborative workspace or a boardroom for entertaining clients. Or moveable wall installations that let spaces expand and contract depending on how many people are in the office at a given time.

2. Ergonomic Furniture

Ergonomics is an important concern for modern employees. More people have begun to understand the effects of long-term sitting on the body, creating custom work-from-home setups that put little strain on the body. A modern office should have this same level of customisation. Invest in adjustable desks and chairs, ergonomic accessories such as keyboard trays and monitor arms, and supportive seating options to reduce the risk of discomfort and injury. A comfortable and ergonomic workspace promotes better posture, reduces fatigue, and enhances overall health and productivity.

3. Brighten Up a Modern Office With Biophilic Design

Many studies have shown plants and greenery to reduce stress and improve mood. Desk plants have also been linked to increased productivity in office settings. Biophilic fitout design has a grounding effect in a modern office setting using natural elements to bring the outdoors inside.

Low-maintenance choices like succulents and cacti accommodate those without green thumbs, and placing plants on desks, windowsills, or bookshelves can positively impact productivity and creativity. Or you can double down on the design concept and install green walls, large windows and skylights to bring in natural light.

Recommended Reading: 4 Reasons to Add Greenery to Your Office

4. Creating Space With Light & Glass

Natural light not only nurtures your office plants, but it also nourishes your team. Offices with small windows (or none at all) are uninspiring. Modern office fitouts are moving away from this design and towards larger windows and skylights to brighten up the workspace. Even a small influx of sunlight transforms the atmosphere, positively impacting employee well-being and productivity. 

Custom windows and skylights may appear pricier upfront, yet they can yield long-term savings on electricity bills all while offering calming, picturesque views for your team. Incorporating reflective surfaces – like glass partitions and mirrors – can effectively bring natural light deeper into the office, contributing to a brighter and more inviting workplace. It also makes an average floor plan look and feel larger.

This effect is fully realised in the office fitout we completed for Duralift. Although there are clearly delineated offices and workspaces, glass partitions make everything feel larger. These partitions also brighten up the entire office grabbing incoming natural light and projecting it throughout the space. 

5. Adding a Luxury Touch

Are you a landlord having trouble attracting new clients? You might want to consider building a speculative fitout. Even still, you need to consider what modern business owners are looking for in an office: luxury.

We’re not saying that your vacant office needs to be outfitted with the most premium materials and technology. But we are saying that small luxury touches could make your property more attractive to potential tenants. This could be a brass finish on handles, knobs, and pulls. Quality carpet and flooring. Even separate office kitchen installation can elevate your property above other listings.

6. Unconventional Furniture

While working from home the modern worker grew accustomed to switching up their work environment. Sometimes they worked at the desk. At other times they propped the laptop on the bench top to create a makeshift standing desk. Even some chose the couch at times.

There’s no right or wrong way to work, and changing up the environment can spark creativity or inspire a new perspective on a tough problem. To replicate this concept in the office, modern spaces are considering unconventional furniture options and moving away from standard desks. 

Office pods can be installed to create designated private spaces. Teams can use them for solo work or confidential meetings. Taking a page from a Japanese workplace design, some modern-day Western startups are building nap pods into their office fitouts. In a culture where falling asleep on the job is considered a badge of honour, nap pods encourage employees to take power naps between long sessions at the desk. Napping has been shown to boost performance, and some modern companies are leaning into the trend.

7. Wellness Isn’t a Luxury Amenity Anymore

Looking after your team’s wellbeing isn’t a luxury concept. The modern employee is seeking out businesses that do care about work-life balance, burnout, and happiness. Some larger companies are going all in on wellness to attract and retain the best talent. Here are a few wellness-forward office trends we’ve seen in the industry.

  • Yoga and meditation rooms
  • Exclusive office gym (or renting office space adjacent to a local gym)
  • Parenting rooms
  • Accessibility for differently abled employees
  • Office kitchens

Meditation gives team members a chance to recollect their thoughts before diving back into deep work. A morning gym session gets the blood going and releases the feel-good chemicals to supercharge the brain for high performance. Parenting rooms help new mothers and fathers transition back into the office. All of these complimentary amenities have a positive impact on the performance, retention and happiness of your team.

8. Balancing the Private With Collaborative

Open-plan offices shaped the modern office landscape. Tried and tested across many industries, it has its advantages, but there are some drawbacks. These drawbacks are particularly apparent when it comes to performing solo work. Without private spaces or office pods, it’s extremely difficult for individuals to work productively in spaces built entirely around communication and collaboration. 

Modern office fitouts should take into consideration all types of work styles. A mix of private office, mixed-use and collaborative spaces is ideal.

Recommended Reading: How the Best Collaborative Workspaces Are Made

What is the Average Cost For an Office Fitout?

As a general rule of thumb, we suggest allocating ~$900-$1500 per square meter in determining the cost of your office fitout. On the lower end of this range, your fitout may consist of more moderate finishes – such as laminate surfaces, limited joinery as well as simple lighting and furniture. At the higher end of this range, you may expect more premium finishes across materials, lighting, furniture and joinery. Click the link below for more specific information on fitout cost and budget recommendations.

Recommended Reading: Fitout Costs Explained

Duralift Office Fitout 12 v2 FocusFillWzE0MDAsMTYwMCwieCIsNTAwXQ

Designing the Future of Work With Canopy Fitouts

Work is changing. The ones who adapt attract the best talent or the best tenants. The ones who don’t suffer from high turnover, low morale and unproductive work. Embracing these modern ideas in your next fitout or renovation will help your business stay ahead of the curve. 

At Canopy, we are all about creating inspiring office fitouts. Our team of designers, architects, and builders will work with you to strike the perfect balance of form and function in your office. And with experience across 30+ industries, we know exactly what it takes to bring your workplace to life. 

Speak to our team today and we’d be more than happy to give you advice on cost, budgets, requirements, and timeframes for your office or commercial fitout. Give us a call at 1800 434 868 or email