As the way we work evolves, the lines between office and home are much less defined. Many companies offer some location flexibility for employees, allowing them to work from home part- or full-time. But the comforts of home are also making their way into the office.
“Workplaces are becoming a blend of the personal and the professional,” said Jessica McCambridge, workplace solutions director. “We’re seeing a lot of residential elements in office spaces, like sofas, café tables, and coffee bars. These pieces emphasize comfort, collaboration and adaptability.”
With a more holistic approach to office space planning and furnishings, employees no longer have to segment their work, leisure, social, and health priorities so rigidly. As those barriers come down, productivity and happiness have room to grow. Here are some of the home-meets-office trends to keep an eye on.
Workplaces are more comfortable when they offer flexibility and choice. An office may keep traditional private offices and individual workstations – but reduce their size to allow for more communal areas that can be adapted for individual and group needs.
Modular furniture and movable walls transform a room quickly into a department meeting space or an ad hoc brainstorm zone. Cozy nooks with armchairs, and small phone booths with soundproof walls are well suited for quiet, solo projects. Versatile spaces let employees choose how and where they want to work.
Many companies are creating a welcoming aesthetic by incorporating materials associated with residential spaces. Natural materials, such as brick and reclaimed wood, are finding a place in conference rooms, kitchens and lounges. Colorful fabrics and finishes, as well as homey touches like throw pillows and footstools, add warmth to communal areas.
Sitting at a desk for eight hours straight is unhealthy for employees and ultimately bad for business. Instead of encouraging people to adopt healthy habits in their off hours, companies are looking for creative ways to integrate them into the workplace.
“Employers want their staff to be able to take a break and stretch their legs throughout the day,” said McCambridge. “Some workplaces are adding fitness centers, yoga studios, or nap rooms. Others have gaming areas, walking tracks, or homey kitchens stocked with healthy snacks. Even if people work long hours, they can still take care of themselves like they would at home.”
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