Courtesy of Room & Board Business Interiors
As the workplace has undergone a dramatic transformation catalyzed by hybrid and flexible working arrangements, businesses are challenged to reimagine the office into a destination that supports all types of work and work styles.
With competition for talent at an all-time high, 61% of companies are investing into the design of the office. Creating a space that truly supports all types of workers and cultivates a sense of community, creativity, focus, and well-being is paramount to employee happiness and retention.
Creating a space that truly supports all types of workers and cultivates a sense of community, creativity, focus, and well-being is paramount to employee happiness and retention.
To support this new “way of thinking about the office” Elise Nicpon from Room & Board Business Interiors (BI), outlines the top 7 spaces that every company needs for a future-focused, employee-oriented workplace. She’s also included images from Room & Board’s headquarters and projects, showcasing real-world implementations of these forward-thinking designs.
1. Content Rooms
With the marketing landscape demanding more forms of consumable content, a content room is the new must-have space, serving as a vehicle for broadcasting all types of content. Whether it be recording podcasts, creating training videos, or filming social media clips, the content room is all about the backdrop and less about “traditional flow and functionality.”
The two most important elements when it comes to designing the Content Room are dimension and flexibility. To counteract the camera’s natural tendency to flatten, vary the depths and heights of furniture from the camera. Consider high-back chairs or pieces with interesting textures and shapes to create more visual complexity and add character to your space.
2. Hybrid Meeting Rooms
With 58% of the workforce being offered the option to work from home at least one day of the week, virtual meetings are a pandemic-era phenomenon that is here to stay. Staying true to its name, the Hybrid Meeting Room is a versatile space that supports everything from traditional in-person meetings to a combination of in–person and remote conferencing. Visibility, seating arrangements, and personal space are the most important features to consider to help all attendees feel comfortable and included. For example, studies indicate that circular seating arrangements, instead of rectangular, remove hierarchy within meetings, promoting inclusivity and equal participation.
3. Recharge Rooms
The emphasis and prioritization of employee well-being is a trend that, thankfully, is here to stay. The “Recharge room” is a space dedicated to all aspects of worker well-being, whether it be a space for yoga, quick naps, or a moment of solitude (plus it can also double as a private and more restorative escape for nursing mothers). Switching gears from an environment of high productivity to relaxation in the office can be difficult. Our physical spaces can greatly impact our behavior and mindset. Establish a clear and distinct break from the rest of the office using softer textures and silhouettes, ambient lighting, and warmer colors. Think upholstered sofas and chaises, along with weighted blankets, plush throw pillows, or even a high-pile rug to help channel a cozy and soothing atmosphere for relaxation.
4. Nature Rooms
It’s no secret that the pandemic has led to a greater appreciation of the outdoors. Bringing the outdoors in, aka biophilic design, goes beyond incorporating plants and shrubbery into the space. In addition to plant life, providing access to natural light, including natural features like stone and wood, and embracing color are all biophilic design principles that have been proven to reduce stress, enhance mood, and improve creativity and productivity. Atriums with an abundance of glass windows are a popular choice for funneling natural light into central areas.
Indoor gardens are also trending due to their physical and mental benefits. Not only do indoor gardens add beautiful design elements that participate in solving common spatial problems, but they also aid in room acoustics and improve worker well-being.
In addition to bringing nature into the office, take the office outdoors. Access to the outdoors has become an increasingly desired amenity among employees, resulting in more courtyards, balconies, and rooftops being incorporated into the design of commercial buildings. The daylight and fresh air offer a healthy and stimulating workspace, a calming environment to relax, and even a change of scenery for meetings and presentations.
5. Comfortable Community-Centric Rooms
The office should foster the creation of experiences that are rarely encountered when working from home – connection, engagement, and collaboration. Carving out a dedicated community space with comfortable lounge seating where employees can regroup, grab a cup of coffee, and connect can help stimulate relaxed, impromptu collaboration and strong workplace culture.
Like the Recharge Rooms, the design and decor should reflect the intention of the space, with a focus on comfort and gathering. Our environments subconsciously influence our behavior, and furniture plays an important role here, so think lounge-like feel to encourage casual conversations and restoration. The community space should be a place where employees want to hang out.
6. Focus Rooms
It is important not to neglect the original purpose of the office as a space for productivity and work. To accommodate those who typically prefer working from home to avoid common office distractions and background noise, create a library-like space for heads-down focus. The Focus Room serves as the perfect counterpart to collaboration spaces, giving employees the option to zone in on work and research without being disturbed.
While the idea may seem counterintuitive, opt for larger communal “work” tables that mimic the library layout. Studies on social identity theory show that engaging in a shared workspace creates a sense of group identity, prompting more awareness of others. In this case, the library effect makes workers more inclined to keep noise levels down so as not to disturb others.
7. Home Rooms
87% of employees that are offered remote work spend an average of three days working from home each week. To fully support workers in and out of the office, on top of providing them with a thoughtful commercial office space, it’s important to equip them with a proper work-from-home setup too.
A comfortable, ergonomic workspace encourages productivity and promotes well-being. Although not in an actual office, home office furniture needs the same quality and durability as commercial spaces to withstand wear and tear from pets, children, and everyday use.