In order to remain relevant in today’s ever-changing environment, we need to think outside the box in order to succeed. If social distancing and remote work are to remain, it will have a profound impact on how we occupy space and how we work together moving forward. Even before the onset of the pandemic, the workplace has become more mobile. Employers have seen firsthand that working mobile has allowed for more flexibility from their employees. We increasingly stay in touch with our clients and coworkers wherever we are. If this is to be the new normal there are a few changes we must make.
Innovative office design is one of those changes. The old ways of working 9 to 5 behind a desk, in a cubicle, is gone. Getting creative with your office space is imperative and we must look to the future and new design ideas that we can incorporate into our current workplaces. Most of us have become accustomed to our office buildings being utilitarian, efficient, and rigid. That trend is changing. One of those changes is creating what is known as “open-plan” offices. This is part of the movement toward rethinking the formal characteristics of where we work. Here are 4 ways to incorporate unique types of interior design into your office space:
- Creating a sense of “home” at work: Since many people are currently working from home the idea of the design aesthetic of the office has changed. The goal is to provide comfort and safety for those employees who are actually in the office. The workplace is now being designed to make office workers feel as if they are at home. Residential elements such as comfortable sofas and chairs, wood flooring, soft lighting in common spaces, and artwork displayed throughout the office are some ways to add a sense of warmth to the space.
- Sustainability and Green Options: Many offices now feature living walls (also known as green walls) to the office. These are real gardens, complete with actual horticulture, that is fixed to interior walls. Many offices have begun adding more plants to their décor. Incorporating greenery helps to add nature and bring the outdoors inside. Plus, plants in corporate settings are not only part of the comforting, home-like trend, but they also provide numerous health benefits.
- Mixing The Old And The New: Office designers have begun pairing old and new design elements together to create an inspiring fusion of the past and the present. Retro and geometric patterns are emerging in larger areas of the office such as flooring and wall coverings. Bright colors paired with muted tones of gray and ivory create great contrast. Including brass and retro metals with stone is very trendy.
- Pod area layouts and open-concept office design: These flexible workspaces are more important than ever. When employees are in the office they seek private spots or enclaves where they can work safely. These pod areas include smaller, private areas with enough workspace, seating, and outlet access so employees can make phone calls, participate in video conferences or work on research safely. These spaces can easily accommodate those employees who may be in the office for just a few days and spending the rest of the week working from home.
Of all companies, Google is perhaps the best known for its unique, “outside the box” office design. For years they have been decking out their offices with eye-popping visuals and incredible amenities for their employees. Some locations have slides, fire poles, and other creative means of getting from one level to the next. They have highly imaginative lounge areas and even boats in place of chairs.
This trend in unique office design is being explored globally. Many cities have begun embracing new office designs. Wherever in the world, you travel, you can see examples of companies who are trying to “think outside the box” when designing their office complexes. You will be amazed at the creative ways they are accomplishing this. Developing a workspace that is effective in today’s ever-changing world is still a challenge that will be specific to each organization’s business model.
We now know that providing employees with more thoughtful, intentionally designed work environments helps improve productivity, decrease employee absenteeism and create higher rates of employee satisfaction. The design of the work environment can dictate what makes for a high-performing employee. Numerous management studies have shown that increased socialization, teamwork, and collaboration can significantly improve employee creativity, innovation, and productivity. Architects and Designers have become key influencers in the planning and execution of today’s workspaces and they must give thoughtful consideration to how their office spaces look. In order to remain relevant, they must embrace ideas that may be beyond what they are accustomed to. The implementation of these innovations can provide a better environment for their staff while promoting positive growth for their company’s future.