Depending on which side of the aisle you sit on, remote working can be a tricky subject. On the one hand, it has opened up accessibility and flexibility to an entire generation of employees. On the other, vast swathes of once bustling office buildings are now ghost towns.
While remote working might be great for staff to save time and money, some businesses report a drop in productivity as a result. Large mega-corporations like Amazon are convinced that “collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective when we’re working together and learning from one another in person.”
It’s the reason why some of Australia’s largest businesses began implementing a minimum number of “in-office” days for employees. But with flexible working arrangements now becoming a part of employment law in Australia, how can you persuade, as opposed to order your staff to come back into the office? More specifically, what office design elements can make the return to the office seem worth the hour-long commute?
In this article, we’ll explore some unique and functional office trends that have proven successful in stemming the remote working exodus. Taking inspiration from the evolving workplace strategies of organizations, we have compiled a list of five office design concepts proven to bring staff back into the office.
1. The Retreat Space
Embracing the newfound freedom of choice that remote work has provided; offices are now exploring the concept of providing dedicated retreat spaces. These areas offer employees a chance to temporarily escape from the hustle and bustle of the office, similar to the retreat they find at home. To ensure their success, these spaces require a disciplined approach, with strict guidelines against the use of technology or mobile phones. Whether it takes the form of a quiet corner or a designated library, the retreat space must be distinct from the rest of the office, prioritizing user comfort with careful consideration of acoustics and lighting. It offers individuals an opportunity for reflection and thinking, away from the typical work environment.
2. Encouraging Movement
A purposeful office experience encourages movement and interaction among employees. To avoid nesting or isolating specific teams in designated areas, offices should strategically position resources and amenities to motivate employees to traverse different zones and floors.
By pulling individuals away from their usual workstations, organizations foster cross-disciplinary interactions and chance encounters that spur collaboration and creativity. Creating diverse and interesting office landscapes through thoughtful space planning promotes effective work and social engagement.
3. Elevating User Experience
While buzzwords like “resimercial” and “hotelification” may lose their meaning when overused, the underlying focus on experience remains paramount. Offices can be inspired by homes and hotels for a unique experience. This includes natural light, high-quality materials, customizable controls for lighting and temperature, and well-designed food and drink amenities. By doing so, offices can offer a new range of emotions and an enhanced user experience. By incorporating intuitive, human-centric settings, offices can enhance employees’ comfort, performance, and relationships within the workspace.
4. Remote First
This concept may seem counterintuitive, especially if we want people back in the office, but it is important. Remote work is here to stay, and offices must adapt to accommodate this reality. A “remote first” approach acknowledges that while the benefits of working in an office are numerous, certain individuals may be unable to physically be present. Designing spaces with remote workers in mind fosters inclusivity and effective collaboration. Simple design changes, such as incorporating d-shaped tables can provide remote workers with a space at the table, significantly improving their participation and contribution.
Technology and furniture design will play a big role in creating remote-friendly spaces within the office. By prioritizing the needs of remote workers and providing appropriate technology support, offices can reap the benefits of a blended workforce.
5. Building for Adaptation
Uncertainty remains a constant in today’s workplace, making adaptability a crucial consideration. Offices should focus on creating spaces that can be easily modified to accommodate evolving needs. By incorporating flexibility into the initial design and establishing disciplined base build strategies, offices can preserve key circulation areas and accommodate future changes without dismantling the entire space. This includes thoughtful planning of desk locations and cable infrastructure. As companies continue to evolve rapidly, forward-thinking organizations must anticipate future requirements and minimize restrictions on their physical workspace.
What Does the Future Hold?
While there are many theories of what the office of the future will look like, there are some clear trends and strategies already being used by successful businesses. The pandemic taught some harsh lessons and organizations have gained valuable experience as a result.
Looking forward to 2024 and beyond, the trend of downsizing office space and investing in quality design is expected to persist, reflecting a renewed focus on creating functional and inspiring work environments.
OLG Supports You
As one of Australia’s leading office furniture wholesalers, we do everything in our power to support project managers and resellers. For a full list of everything we can do, check out How OLG Can Win You a Deal.
Stuck for ideas? Or maybe you just want an office furniture wholesaler that you can rely on. Give us a call on 02 8188 2732 or send us an email so we can discuss some options.
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