The New ‘Home away from Home.’
How Do You Ensure Your Office Environment Is The New ‘Home away from Home.’

The impact of COVID-19 has triggered the largest work from home experiment in human history, resulting in a new normal for many employers and employees. Working culture, as we know it, is experiencing a watershed moment, and businesses are undergoing an adaptation like never before. Although we are in the early stages of the ‘WFH’ reality, designers are already rethinking how office design trends will evolve in the current circumstances.

Before COVID-19, workplace culture was already heading in the direction of flexibility and freedom. The mix between personal and professional, formal and informal, and the upending of traditional corporate culture was already evident in open plan and flexible working environments. The result of the pandemic is only going to accelerate these shifts and promote a more casual, relaxed work environment.

People have become accustomed to the WFH routine, enjoying the comfort and freedom of working from their beds, couches, outdoors, and home offices, spaces that a typical workplace may not offer.

WFH will have a lasting effect and lead to a reappraisal of office design, reinforcing the workplace as a home away from home. In response, we will see workplace environments becoming more inviting and vibrant to match the standards of ‘home’ comforts. The aim to create a place where people feel inspired, motivated, and want to come to work. Office furniture will incorporate the comforts of home – lounge chairs and couches, warm natural lighting, vibrant fabrics, and indoor plants.

The office will also strive to embrace what WFH can’t provide: a high level of social and face-face interaction and superior technical facilities. Companies will need to evolve – shrinking personal space, and investing in more interactive workspaces and collaboration areas.

These are the general trends we predict, we also understand that every business is unique, requires different needs, and has specific goals, for their employees and organisation as a whole. That’s why implementing a Workplace Strategy approach to designing a fit out allows for a deeper understanding of the business. Determining the behaviour of an organisation and its goals will inspire the blueprint design. If workplaces are designed to encourage desired behaviours, then employees will reciprocate, creating an overall benefit for both parties.

A returning workforce doesn’t mean complete normality. With the new social distancing regulations enforced, working from home will still be an option for many employees, whether that’s full time or on a staggered basis.

Like many of us have experienced, WFH is not all fun and games, and the novelty may have worn off, however, for many, it will continue to be a core part of the routine. Take some of these WFH tips on board to keep yourself, and your employees motivated and focused:

– Before COVID-19 work and home were two physically different environments. You should try to keep your workspace as separate from your home as much as possible.
– Designate a quiet, bright space with adequate airflow and keep it uncluttered to eliminate distractions, and maximise productivity
– Ensure your desk is set up correctly, the seat and screen height is set correctly and consider investing in ergonomic equipment to prevent injury or discomfort
– Make your desk environment aesthetically pleasing. Having a welcoming environment will stimulate the brain and entice you to sit down and get your work done.
– Stick to your routine, take breaks, and ensure you shut work off once the working day is finished to avoid burn out.

Looking to inspire your staff as they return to work. An office design that supports changing work behaviour leads to higher employee satisfaction rates, which in turn, leads to company loyalty, increased productivity, and performance. In the unpredictable reality we are experiencing, the ability to adapt is the most valuable characteristic an organisation can have.
Promoting a high performing workplace all starts with workplace strategy, saving your business money, spur growth, create flexibility, and drive future strategic direction.

These are all small, yet important aspects to designing an efficient workplace suited to your company values, employees and working styles – something that is important to implement at both home & office environments when we are permitted to return. At Concept, our detailed Workplace Strategy sessions are designed to uncover your companies ideal working style, in turn, guiding how we design an engaging, productive workplace for your team and the business.

Julia Bacon
Interior Designer

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