INCREASINGLY offices are beginning to look a lot more like our homes. But what is behind this popular global trend?
Linda Trim, a director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, says: “The term ‘resi-mercial,’ has been coined to describe this blending of residential and commercial furnishings, and feel in the workplace. We are seeing greater numbers of requests for our installations to look more casual and more like home.”
Trim explains that it is all about creating a space that people want to be in. When you think that we spend about a third of our lives working, no one wants to feel like they are in an office.
“It’s not so much managing work, home and play but the blending of it.”
She says that with more people using laptops instead of desktop computers, people are no longer tethered to a desk. “People pick up their laptops and will perhaps sit or lounge on a couch, much like they do at home.”
Trim adds that more comfortable work space also appeals to young staff. “This is a really important consideration for companies in competition to attract and retain skilled workers.”
A mix of desks and couches is practical too because it makes things easier to do different types of work, from collaborative brainstorming sessions to head-down work.
But it is not just all about adding colourful sofas around the office. Beyond the traditional desk, there are different sizes of couches, bar-tall tables, sit or stand areas and even work spaces that resemble a kitchen or dining room table that are now popular.
“The right mix of furnishings can create an environment that increases employee engagement and satisfaction, which are considered key drivers to a company’s success.
“Space plays a role in the cognitive, physical and emotional well-being of workers. In that world, you have to think more about informal spaces,” she advises.
Trim says that home-like offices reduce the sense of hierarchy in offices.
“Previously the boss would have his own office in the corner while workers sat in rows somewhere else. A more casual environment does away with this old-fashioned rigidity and can, therefore, reduce the tension in the workplace,” says Trim.
Linda Trim is a director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap.