The Rise of The Minimalist Office

Published on 18/10/2021


  • Minimalism? Doesn’t That Mean an Empty Office?
  • 5 Reasons Why a Minimalist Office May Help Your Employees
  • The Do’s And Don’ts Of The Minimalist Office
  • How Does Biophilic Office Design Fit in?
  • Possible Barriers to Creating Your Minimalist Office (And How to Overcome Them)
  • It’s Time to Declutter!
  • Minimalism Can be a Mindset Too 
  • Conclusion 

If you want your employees to do the best work they can, you need to give them an office that suits their needs. It’s not rocket science, is it? However, what do you consider to be a good office and what is a bad one? Everyone’s idea is different. 

There are however some things that most people can agree on. A good office is an attractive, clean, comfortable, and easy to work in space. It doesn’t hurt that when people visit your space they’ll be impressed in all the right ways. 

Clutter doesn’t tend to have a good rep - with good reason. When a space is cluttered, it’s much more likely that someone is going to trip over and hurt themselves. It’s also a far less productive space too - clutter in the space tends to translate to clutter in the mind. It looks pretty unprofessional too. 

So, the opposite of clutter is, what? Minimalism. 

Have you ever thought about having a minimalist office? Do you even have the right idea of what this means?

Because the minimalist office is so misunderstood, we’re going to dedicate this guide to helping you understand what this type of office is and perhaps consider opting for it yourself. Of course, if you’re one of the many people who have chosen to stay working from home after lockdown, you can also create a minimalist home office by following the same advice too. 

For sure, office design trends come and go, but minimalism has never gone out of fashion. 

Minimalism? Doesn’t That Mean an Empty Office?

Let’s get this out of the way before we begin. Many people assume that minimalism means literally nothing in the office. They think it means no office desks, no office chairs, no storage solutions, and no boardroom furniture. Of course, that’s not possible. We still need to be able to run a business, don’t we?

No, minimalism doesn’t mean there’s no office furniture or decor at all. Instead, minimalism means scaling things back to the minimum. It means making as much use out of the space as you can, without affecting productivity. If anything, minimalism could make your space even more productive instead!

The aim of a minimalist office is also to create a calm and far less stressful environment for employees. Many businesses are now rightly fully choosing to place their employees first, focusing upon their health and wellbeing. Opting for this style of office design could therefore mean that their working experience is far more positive than compared to working in a frenetic and cluttered space.

Check out this video which gives you a tour of the world’s most minimalist office in Gothenburg. Now, you don’t have to go this far, but it's interesting to see!

The other major plus point of a minimalist design is that there is an aim to be more sustainable and to cut down on waste. Recycling is a key aim. This is obviously something we should all be moving towards with a drive towards improving the climate change situation. 

As before, you can look towards minimalist home office organisation too. This isn’t just about commercial spaces. If you want to extend it to your home environment in general, you can do that too! 

5 Reasons Why a Minimalist Office May Help Your Employees

All employers need to focus on their employees first and foremost. It makes sense when you think about it - your employees are the ones who do the work and that means you need to ensure they’re cared for and comfortable during their working days. 

If you’re considering moving towards minimalist office space design, here are five reasons why it may benefit your employees and not just make your office look good. 

Minimalist Offices Are Naturally Calming

For sure, you can opt for any decor colour in a minimalist office because it's more about the amount of office furniture and other items, but this space is usually more calming. That’s most people tend to go for the white, cream, grey, monochromatic look which has that chilled out feel. 

Calming spaces are ideal for work because they reduce workplace stress. Nobody wants to be stressed at work and from a productivity and mental health point of view, it needs to be reduced. Minimalism is calming concept and there are no downsides to that! 

It’s Easy to Find Everything, Making it More Productive

Because there are less office storage solutions around, less chairs and desks, and simply the things you need, it’s far easier to find what you’re looking for. As a result, this type of office is a generally more productive space overall. 

We all know that productivity is important because it leads towards profits and growth. Those are the main aims of a business. Being able to find what you’re looking for also means that you’re not wasting time and you’re making fewer mistakes. That all translates to a better service for your customers and a more enjoyable working experience for your employees. 

The Space is Safer With Less Physical Hazards

The basics of a minimalist space means that there is less in there. The space is paired back as much as possible. So that means there are less physical hazards for employees to fall over, tip over, or hurt themselves on. Of course, any office should do what they can to cut down on hazards because they’re bound by the Health & Safety at Work Act. However, in a minimalistic space, it’s simply easier to do because it happens naturally. 

Being able to move around the office freely is also a much better feeling than having to walk sideways down certain parts of the office because there are too many desks and modern office desks in the way. 

The Space is More Enjoyable

Minimalist office design is a more enjoyable experience because of all the above points. It’s also modern and sleek, which is always going to be a hit. This has a great effect on morale and can lead to better productivity simply because of that fact. 

Of course, it also means that your employees can collaborate far more easily. Less clutter means more space to think and that can mean far more ideas and creativity floating around. That makes for a fantastic working environment. 

The pluses are just mounting up!

It’s a Cleaner And More Hygienic Space 

The fact that there is far less office furniture in a minimalist office means it’s easier to clean. These spaces are usually lighter in colour, which also allow dirt and dust to show up far more easily. This all adds up to a more hygienic space and of course, in the current climate, it’s important to socially distance. Less furniture means more space and again, that means a safer space in that regard.

From a clutter point of view, a minimalist office basically bans it. If you’re someone who has always had a cluttered desk, you’ll find this type of office design forces you to change your ways! So, what does your office desk say about you? It’s interesting to find out, so check out this infographic. 

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of The Minimalist Office

If you're keen to start putting together your own minimalist workspace office, you need to know the do’s and dont’s. As with any type of office design, there are things you should definitely do and things you should avoid if you want it to work.  

Do’s of Creating a Minimalist Office Space

  • Be sure to add your character onto the office design - That means having pops of colour here and there or motifs on the walls. Anything which gives a nod to your business and what it's about. You have to make sure that your brand comes through, even if you’re going for a minimalist look. You don’t want your space to look too clinical. 
  • Start from scratch - Move all of your office furniture out of the space, including any breakout furniture and collaborative equipment. You need to start with the most basic form you have - an empty office. Then, you can look at what you really can do and what’s not possible. 
  • Think carefully about what you REALLY need - The things you definitely need are the things that need to stay. If you’re not sure, talk to your employees and ask them what they definitely can’t do without. However, make sure that you don’t get caught up with thinking you need to keep hold of more than you really do. Be ruthless!
  • Remember to go paperless - If you’re going minimalist, that means you have the perfect opportunity to finally go paperless. This has been an aim for many businesses for years now and many haven't managed it. Of course, going completely paperless is difficult but it’s possible. This is the best chance you’re ever going to get so start looking at digital means, rather than storing bulks of paper. 
  • You will still need some storage - The key word there however is ‘some’. You don’t need too much. There are going to be things you need to keep a hold of and they need to be stored somewhere. Can you store them outside of the office in a safe manner? How about a separate storage room? In a minimalist office, you only have what you need and you don't have endless filing cabinets cluttering up the office.

Don’ts of Creating a Minimalist Office Space

  • Don’t assume that a minimalist office means everything has to be white - It doesn’t. The idea of minimalism is about the furniture and items you have in the space. While it’s true that the minimalist decor is clean and sleek, that doesn't mean it has to be white. In fact, too much white decor and furniture can make the space look washed out and clinical. 
  • Don’t forget to talk to your employees - Going from a regular office design to a minimalist look can be a pretty radical look and that needs pre-warning. Talk to your employees and ask for their opinions. Be sure to listen to what they say and involve them in the design process. 
  • Don’t forget that you don’t need too much furniture or items on the walls - Remember what the whole point of minimalism is! A minimalist office desk isn’t about endless pen pots and sticky notes, just like the entire office isn’t about tables here, there, and everywhere. You’re going for the minimalist office chair vibe and that means enough chairs for everyone and no more!
  • Don’t forget that your space needs to be about minimising waste - That’s one of the main benefits of minimalism and you shouldn’t overlook it. Reduce paper, reduce waste of space, reduce wasting time, reduce everything that you don’t need!
  • Don’t forget about your tech - Cut down on clutter by making sure everything is wireless. Having charging points around the space, perhaps with stand height desks so your employees get a little workout while they’re going about their business. Have one central printer, rather than individual ones, and consider the ‘buying your own device’ (BYOD) rather than having desktops in the office. 

How Does Biophilic Office Design Fit in?

We’ve mentioned a few times about adding nods of colour and character into your minimalist design, so it doesn’t end up being washed out and clinical. The best way to do that, while ensuring that you stay on the right lines, is to add a little biophilic design to your space. The two ideas work hand in hand with one another and have major benefits. 

If you're not sure what we’re talking about, biophilic office design is using office plants or other nods towards nature in your space. There are many benefits of this. Check out this infographic to explore a few. 

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A minimalist office interior is sometimes hard to work out but when you add office plants, you’re sticking with the theme. You’re also adding to productivity, which is something minimalism gives you anyway. 

Possible Barriers to Creating Your Minimalist Office (And How to Overcome Them)

Of course, it’s not all good news. There are some barriers to designing a minimalist office, and that normally comes down to office space and mentality. It can be a huge problem changing from one design to another and you're likely to run into some resistance from some employee and perhaps even in your own mind. Many people have a very firm idea of minimalism and it can be hard to prove them wrong. 

The best way to overcome those kinds of barriers is to sit everyone down around the boardroom furniture and talk it through. Listen to concerns and note them down. Reassure your employees wherever you need to and listen to their ideas. Maybe they have a few suggestions that could really take your new design to the next level. 

If it’s your office space that’s the problem, the good news is that you can add in minimalism no matter what the shape, you simply need to think outside of the box sometimes. 

If you’re going for minimalist office design ideas, you need to be a little more creative. This is a space that needs to fit in with your home design. That will take some brainstorming, but you can do it! Why not make your home minimalist? 

It’s Time to Declutter!

Even if you’re not going all minimalist in your design, you can take some of the principles and add them to your space. For instance, decluttering and focusing upon time management. By doing that, you’re streamlining the things you have in your space and you’re streamlining your time! Both will make you less wasteful, just in different ways. 

Look at your office and identify the things you really don’t need. Do you have too much storage? How about items on the walls? Are you windows clear and can they open fully? Can you work towards going paperless sooner rather than later? Do you really need those extra tables dotted around “just in case”?

You can also task your employees with decluttering their desks. Check out this video which gives you a few ideas on desk organisation. 

Modern minimalist office interior design isn't about having nothing on your walls, it’s about not overloading everything. For sure, some minimalist offices just have one picture as a centrepiece, but it’s up to you how far you take minimalism. You can go all the way, or you can create your own version. 

The same goes for creating a home office in this way. Think about the minimalist home office furniture you need and only purchase the things that you really need to do your job. You don’t need fancy filling cabinets, you're not in a commercial space! You simply need a desk, a comfortable ergonomic chair, and a laptop. You might need printer, but most people don’t. Remember to go wireless with everything!

We mentioned going paperless earlier and that’s something that you really should try and focus upon. It’s one of the main ideas that minimalism is based upon and it can save you both time and space. It also does a lot to help save the planet. Check out this infographic which gives you a bit more information on this very important subject. 

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Minimalism Can be a Mindset Too 

Turning your office into a minimalist’s dream isn’t just about the way it looks or how it functions, it’s also about the way in which management and employees think. By embracing minimalism, you’ll gain major benefits but it goes far beyond appearances. 

That means thinking about working practices that fit in really well with the whole minimalist mindset. Because really, that’s what minimalism is - a mindset. 

Think about the following ideas:

Flexible Working Arrangements

Minimalism could also mean having less people in the office at any one time. That doesn't mean you reduce your workforce, but it does mean giving people the chance to work where suits them. Maybe some of your employees would like to work from home, maybe some would like to work remotely, and maybe some would like the option to work from home or the office when it suits them. 

Flexible working is a very clear trend and after working from home during lockdown, many people chose to continue doing it. Minimalism and flexible working are two ideas that could work very will together and will certainly help to improve the working lives of your employees. 

Agile Working

The idea of agile working and minimalism are perfect for one another. Agile working means that you focus on the task and you work from and with those who will allow you to complete the task to the best of your ability. 

That means collaboration, idea sharing, and working from places outside of the office if necessary. You can easily create an agile workspace minimalistically, you simply need to keep the idea of not having too much clutter or office furniture when you don’t really need it. 

Active Working 

Earlier on we mentioned having charging stations and stand height desks or height adjustable desks. Those are two endeavours that allow you to implement active working. 

Office workers are at risk of health concerns simply because they spend so much time sitting at their office desks. A good way to reduce those risks is to encourage your employees to get up and move around more. By giving them ways to do that, you’re encouraging them even more and making the whole thing easier. 

Minimalism means more space and that means your employees can easily move around more!

Time Management

We know that one of the aims of minimalism is to streamline everything and make it more productive and healthier as a result.

You can also think minimalistically with your time. If you’re someone who’s prone to being disorganised, you can try to make the most of the hours you have during the day, perhaps by using the Pomodoro Technique or scheduling. You can create training sessions and introduce different time management method stop your employees and then let them choose the ones that suit them best. 

Check out this video that has a few ideas for people who are prone to procrastinating.


Minimalism goes far beyond how an office looks. It’s about what an office does, how it works, how it makes people feel, and the overall outcome on the business. 

There’s no denying that for a very long time, minimalism has had a poor reputation, mainly because people don’t really understand it. But, when you really delve into the subject, you quickly see the major benefits. Of course, a minimalist office design is also a very attractive and sleek look, which could give those entering your space the very best impression of who you are as a business. It could attract new talent, and of course, keep your current employees happy, comfortable, and supported during their working days. 

Make sure that you allow your brand identity to shine through your design and add pops of character here and there. You don’t want the space to be too plain or sterile. There are different degrees of minimalism and its up to you how far you go. 

The same theory applies when creating a home office in this vein too. Think about minimalist home office interior design and how it’s going to fit in with your current home decor. If you have a separate room where you do your work, that’s better. You can have whatever decor you choose. However, if your home office is within your space, i.e. in a corner of your dining room, you will need to be a little more creative in how you apply your minimalist design. It's not impossible however, because you can simply keep the whole mindset in place - only keep what you need, reduce waste, and focus on productivity. 

So, now how do you feel about minimalism?

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