Bringing Home to the Workplace
There is certainly a growing parallel between home and office design, partly due to the fact that fewer people now work a typical 9-5 day. Many people work beyond their contractual hours and employers are keen to provide a space in which their staff can feel comfortable, relaxed and ultimately more productive.
People are able to work much more flexibly now and are increasingly keen to do so, they now have greater choice, and there are so many varied career paths available. Companies competing for the attention of staff have to re-think their office environment so that they are able to attract and retain top talent.
What makes an Office look (and feel) like home
The home-like atmosphere depends highly on the boss-employee balance instead of assigning designated areas. A free-flowing spatial layout assists in creating an atmosphere whereby employees feel uninhibited to create open dialogue. The inclusion of home-like office amenities, such as coffee machines and lounge areas assist employees in feeling more at ease and relaxed in an office setting.
In the work space, people are now concerned about comfort, as well as appearance. Also, the design needs to reflect the company’s culture and values. In the recent years we have seen many improvements in furniture, fabrics, and lighting. Also, work habits are different, now people care more about how they are going to spend time in the office.
The Modern Office
These days, homely, open-plan layouts are being given increasing significance. The hierarchical structure is de-emphasized, creating an air of freedom and association over separation. Modern, comfortable offices stimulate interchange between employees in various departments, not only increasing harmony, but require less energy to cool and heat.
Modern/homely offices are seeing an increase in contemporary aesthetics, fun work elements (such as swings, slides and inventive meeting rooms), as well as stimulating pops of colour. It is important to have variety between the formal, traditional spaces with more relaxed, open environments in which people can relax and interact. But paramount, the thing is to have the feeling of cosiness.
The impact of a home-like office culture on employee performance
A living room style, with comfortable, informal seating complete with state of the art technology and connectivity retaining professional functionality could prove to be the most popular space in the office, with staff finding that it engenders a more creative, informal meeting ambience, producing open box thinking.
This concept has definitely seen a rise in popularity in recent years. More and more employers understand the value of a de-structured workplace, open dialogue and increased collaboration.
Furniture plays a significant factor in creating a certain home-like atmosphere. Comfortable and inventive seating provides aesthetically pleasing decorative features and allows employees to feel relaxed while at work.
Softer finishes, comfortable sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and pod seats are examples we might consider when creating a space that we want to feel ‘homely’. Furniture is a very important element in workspace design, it has to have the mix between design and functionality. Pieces that serve many purposes normally tend to be a bit confusing. It is best to have an eclectic mix of furniture with specific purposes in the same space.
A Place You Can Retreat and Feel Comfortable in
It’s so easy to start feeling disconnected from your home life and to lose passion for whatever you are doing as distinctions between work life and personal life are becoming so tough to discern. Workplace amenities are no longer something that’s nice to have. Many of us can’t even imagine our busy workdays without office breakout areas.
A warm, inviting welcoming area can be created by using textiles and finishes that are often associated with a home environment. Adding carpets, homely light fittings and cushions, the setting will provide a relaxing sanctuary for employees to rejuvenate or work remotely in a less formal space. Mixed with a range of colours and textures, this is a great way of adding warmth to the environment so it feels less clinical and formal.
The kitchen or breakout area can also receive more influence from the home; with readily available snacks, great quality tea and coffee and fresh fruit now readily available in many offices as ‘the kitchen becomes the heart of the office’. Don’t be surprised if we see ‘Home Sweet Office’ signs as we enter the office in the future.
It may be good to try something little more eccentric, why not add a shed to your social area, this can be a great breakout domain, or it even double up as a quirky impromptu meeting space…definitely a conversation starter for visitors.
Bringing the Outdoors Indoors
Biophilic design, can also be used to promote homeliness by the embedding of nature in the workplace so it can greatly improve the health and happiness of the workforce. This can mean the installation of living walls, water features or even indoor gardens. Once considered a luxury, the prediction is that this concept will grow.
Yes, everybody likes the homely feeling of cosiness. It’s crucial to feel comfortable. We spend most of our day at work, so it needs to feel good. If we feel good, we are going to work happy and create better.