As hybrid and remote working became more common throughout the pandemic, the boundaries between workplaces and living spaces blurred, with home offices growing increasingly popular.
When individuals work in their home offices, they can tailor their environment to be comfortable, such as by adjusting the lighting or finding a cosier place to sit. This trend thus poses a challenge for the 21st-century workspace: With the option to work comfortably from home, how can businesses attract employees back into the office?
Resimercial office designs
An amalgamation of the words "residential" and "commercial," resimercial design blends the best of residential and commercial features, bringing aspects of home into the office, with the core focus being employee wellbeing.
Like residential homes, resimercial offices are spaces that accommodate the performance of different activities, adjusting to the employees' changing needs throughout the day. Creating a home-like environment that employees enjoy spending time in improves the aesthetic of the office design, reduces employees' stress levels, boosts productivity, and enhances job satisfaction.
Creating a space for comfort
Since work is a significant part of an employee's life, it is beneficial to make the time spent at the office comfortable. Resimercial designs thus seek to make the area more inviting and cosy while incorporating the easy accessibility of a home (i.e., being able to walk to different areas like the kitchen, the outdoors, and the dining room with ease).
Hence, it is necessary to consider how different people prefer to work and plan the layout accordingly. Ideally, there are spaces allocated for both focused and collaborative work. The office should thus be divided into open areas, alcoves, and private meeting rooms, allowing employees to collaborate or split off whenever needed.
When it comes to spaces designed for focused work, good acoustics are vital. It would be beneficial to purchase acoustic furniture to improve the work environment so that employees are not distracted by the sound of others speaking.
Areas such as the pantry, open lounge, and outdoor spaces should also be available so that employees can choose from a variety of spaces.
Furthermore, consider residential-inspired accessories like rugs and decorative lamps to convey warmth and familiarity. You may also opt for less traditional-looking furniture in fun shapes and colours that remind employees of their homes.
Sustainable designs that focus on employee wellbeing
You can improve workplace retention and recruitment by taking care of employee health and wellness. Therefore, elements like air quality, lighting, and biophilic features are essential.
Firstly, it is crucial to ensure proper ventilation in the office. Given the airborne nature of many illnesses, including COVID-19, good ventilation is necessary to reduce the contaminants in the air. It is also useful for employees to get fresh air as it raises their oxygen levels and boosts their mood; therefore, they should have access to outdoor spaces.
Secondly, it is essential to ensure a diversity of lighting design (e.g., bright, dim, direct, indirect) so that individuals can find a space tailored to their specific needs. It is also good to ensure that there is natural lighting, which reduces drowsiness and eye fatigue while minimising energy consumption, thus making the office more sustainable.
Lastly, incorporating biophilic features like plants and natural materials into the office helps boost employee productivity and wellbeing.
At this point, most office workers have had the opportunity to work from home and thus have the experience of working in a home office where they have complete control over their comfort level. Consequently, transitioning back to working in an office may be challenging, leading to a lower motivation to return. Hence, it is important to make spending time in the workplace more enjoyable and comfortable.