Back to the Office: Workplace Design Employees Will Love
Back to the Office
One of the key outcomes of COVID-19 is the way that it quickly altered design in the workplace, effectively accelerating trends that have been gaining traction for years, ones that aren’t going away any time soon. The pandemic has made people rethink what an office space should look like — Employees do not want to go back to a dull, uninspiring 9-to-5 workspace.
Prior to COVID-19, companies had been moving towards the concept of resimercial design, a combination of “residential” and “commercial.” Resimercial design integrates the comforts of home with the more traditional aspects of the office, combining practical work elements with a more fun, collaborative atmosphere. This offers employees quiet areas where they can focus, but also access to amenities that help them unwind and reset when necessary.
As offices prepare to bring employees back, they are looking to create a space with warmth, comfort and familiarity that puts their workforce at ease, sparks creativity, and increases work efficiency — a space where employees can be themselves, give their best, and be productive while experiencing the benefits of working together under one roof.
Here are 7 things you can do to incorporate these ideas of resimercial design into your space to boost engagement and well-being:
1. Design an Open Floor Plan
Open office concepts are an important part of office design because they foster more conversation between co-workers, allow managers to interact with their teams more easily, and offer more space and lighting than a traditional office layout.
Incorporating glass walls into an open office concept adds to the expanse and lightness of the design layout while keeping the workplace comfortable. Glass walls break up the space in a unique way, allowing you to be seen but not heard — optimizing acoustic performance without losing transparency.
2. Offer Flexibility
At INFINIUM HQ, Vocon helped us design a space for everyone’s needs. In addition to private office and open office spaces, when employees need to break away, we have several phone booth and huddle rooms where employees can collaborate or move to a private area when needed. There are also social lounge areas where colleagues can meet in a more relaxed and casual environment. Products like Divvy Boards can be used in these spaces as a mobile writing surface to facilitate interactive meetings.
3. Provide Soft Lighting
Thinking of the office as an extension of your home, choose soft lighting where possible to create a warm, inviting aesthetic. Glass walls are also a great way to borrow natural light from exterior windows into adjacent office space, maximizing visual comfort and reducing energy use.
4 Bring the Outside In
Adding plants to the office gives the professional space a homey vibe, while helping employees to relax and reduce stress. Especially on days where one may not have time to step outside for a break, plants are a connection to the external world, purifying the air and offering a green, modern design aesthetic to the office life.
Area rugs help to soften hard surfaces, and when used as a décor element, can add a pop of color or pattern to an otherwise bare space. Choosing the right accent piece lends a comfortable look to the area, reduces noise levels, and helps to keep the floor clean.
At INFINIUM HQ, we chose FLOR carpet tiles to complement our collaborative open-office areas. Aligning with our commitment to sustainability and supporting local, these American-made carpet tiles are made with responsibly sourced materials and are easy to replace.
For INFINIUM’s HQ’s open spaces, Akrtura acoustic ceiling baffles were chosen for their aesthetic appeal and their noise reduction properties. The SoftSound material used to complete these complementary design features cuts down on everyday noise and reduces reverberations, creating a more pleasant and constructive work environment.
6. Go Green
INFINIUM has been in our new HQ space for 7 months and we’ve already reduced consumption by 12,461 plastic bottles. By providing our employees with their own INFINIUM-branded water bottles, they stay hydrated throughout the day with a visible reminder of the difference they are making, adding to their general health and peace of mind.
We make a conscious effort to choose sustainable products wherever possible and are in the process of adding an eco-friendly powder coating line to our list of green solutions.
7. Encourage Health, Recreation & Relaxation
If your employees are stuck at their desks all day, their productivity is bound to drop. To avoid workers falling into this slump, it’s beneficial to provide a recreational area that lightens the work environment. This will help keep the work stress levels low and productivity high.
Games and activities encourage collaboration, enhance mood, boost energy, and improve the work culture in the organization. Providing opportunities for recreation is one diversion that can create a more cohesive unit, making the workplace more relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.
Engaging in recreational activity helps employees head back to work with a refreshed mind. An additional benefit is that it gives employees a reason to spend more time and be more involved at work.
Aside from a healthy recreational life at INFINIUM — there’s not a lunch hour that goes by without a game of basketball, foosball, ping pong, pool, or shuffleboard being played — we also offer other amenities to contribute to the health of our employees. The construction of our new HQ brought the addition of a full-service gym and shower rooms, standing desks for autonomy and comfort, and access to mental health counseling.
Workplace Design Employees Will Love
A successful resimercial design is one that is aesthetically pleasing, promotes wellness, and provides a safe space for employees to take a break when they need one. Essentially, it is the art of creating a workspace that employees will enjoy. In addition to building an environment that boosts happiness, productivity, and health, this approach can encourage attendance, increase retention, and attract new talent amidst these new challenges posed in the wake of the pandemic.