A smoothie bar, coffee corner, powernap area or a fancy waterbar (this one, for example): employers are getting quite creative in making the office an attractive working space for employees. The reason for this is simple. After a couple of years working from home, employees have experienced the benefits of working from the home-office. And they are not too keen in coming back to the office on a regular basis. At least not the way they were before. And once you get a taste of freedom, it is hard to lure employees back to the office. Hence, there is an office interieur design trend shift. Big open-plan offices are converted into creative hubs and meeting spots.
From open-plan office to creative meeting place
We see it happening everywhere around us. Experts such as architectural firms also claim that they receive a lot of projects to convert a classic office into a meeting space. Due to the popularity of (partial) home working, the office has become more of a social meeting place. A place that can facilitate the need to interact with each other, be creative or have a small talk.
Many people are still working from home, whereas some have returned to the office. According to research from the FNV about working from home, 76% of the people working the financial sector are content working from home. The municipal sector has 66% happy homeworkers. What is still a lot.
The main benefits are the reduced travel times and the enhanced focus when working at home. Most of the employees mention they are more productive at home without any distraction or colleagues. However, the down side of working from home is that employees miss social interaction and that they sit still for too long.
When you compare these results with the current design trends for offices, they are actually pretty well aligned. This emphasizes the need for different offices. People no longer want old fashioned open-plan offices, but a creative meeting place where they can interact with customers and clients.
Trends in office designs
It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has transformed offices space for the near future, and possibly forever. There has been a profound increase in search for shared office spaces and flexible offices.
Trend 1: a homy feel to your work
Photo: from Stich offices designed by DITT
Trend 2: Sustainability & greens
Green, green and more greens. Many modern office spaces now feature living walls, which are real green gardens and plant display fixed on interior walls. Maybe you’ve already seen one of the office moss walls in your office or apartment building? And not only green office walls are placed: many offices embrace plants and sustainability in general.
Plants in corporate settings have more than one function. Firstly, they contribute to the homely feeling. But moreover, plants offer more than comfort. They also provide health benefits. Depending on the type and amount of greenery, the perks of adding plant life in the office include:
Just imagine, combining our smart waterbars with greenery. Both known productivity increasers. The office productivity will go through the roof!
Trend 3: flexible co-working area’s
In the modern office, you see a lot of living room area’s where people can collaborate in small groups. Back in the days these were the big open-office spaces. Now they are converted into smaller living room designs. Co-working area’s fit well with the need for flexible workspaces. When employees are in the office, they often seek private spots or enclaves where they can work or make a phone call. You often see them in the modern office interieur, small pods that are completely silent where one or two people can have a phone call.
These pod- & co-creation areas in the office provide enough workspace, seating and outlet. This way, the office accommodates both the need for a social gathering, as a well as the need for a safe and productive working environment. Employees can work individually or in small groups.
Trend 4: the meeting spot
We already mentioned this trend in the beginning of this article. Employees want to go to the work for socializing, networking and co-creation. What better to do this in the old fashioned coffee corner? Except that people are not looking for the old fashion coffee anymore. Employers want to offer their employees a better experience. The town hall in Amstelveen for example does this by converting their open office space into office gardens. Complete with a smoothie bar, library department and a coffee corner (including barista?).
Some examples of how you can stimulate a meeting spot in the office are: