Top 7 Office Rooms of the Future
By Elise Nicpon, Interiors + Sources Magazine. Photo by Michael Firsich Photography.
The September/October 2022 Issue of iS Magazine shines a spotlight on the business of design. Author Elise Nicpon reports on the top 7 rooms that businesses should consider implementing into their spaces for a future-focused, employee-oriented workplace. At IDO, we have implemented many of the below-highlighted rooms for clients within our corporate, healthcare, life sciences, government, and higher education industries.
Changes to the workplace to better adapt to hybrid and flexible work styles have necessitated a shift in the way businesses think about physical space. The office is no longer just a place to get work done; it must be a destination that supports all types of work and workstyles—all while creating a sense of community and supporting creativity, focus and well-being among employees.
That’s a tall order, to be sure, but the need has never been greater. In fact, according to a recent survey by Envoy, 61% of companies are investing in the design of the office, and 88% are using incentives like improved office amenities to bring people back onsite.
To reimagine the office as a destination that supports all types of work and work styles, designers should consider the following spaces that every company needs for a future-focused, employee-oriented workplace.
1. Content Rooms
With the marketing landscape demanding more forms of consumable content, a content room is the new must-have space, serving as a vehicle for broadcasting all types of content. Whether it be recording podcasts, creating training videos, or filming social media clips, the content room is all about the backdrop and less about “traditional flow and functionality.”
The two most important elements when it comes to designing the Content Room are dimension and flexibility. To counteract the camera’s natural tendency to flatten, vary the depths and heights of furniture from the camera. Consider high-back chairs or pieces with interesting textures and shapes to create more visual complexity and add character to your space.
2. Hybrid Meeting Rooms
With 58% of the workforce being offered the option to work from home at least one day of the week, according to McKinsey, virtual meetings are a pandemic-era phenomenon that is here to stay. Staying true to its name, the Hybrid Meeting Room is a versatile space that supports everything from traditional in-person meetings to a combination of in–person and remote conferencing. Visibility, seating arrangements, and personal space are the most important features to consider to help all attendees feel comfortable and included. For example, studies indicate that circular seating arrangements, instead of rectangular, remove hierarchy within meetings, promoting inclusivity and equal participation.
3. Recharge Rooms
The emphasis and prioritization of employee well-being is a trend that, thankfully, is here to stay. The “Recharge room” is a space dedicated to all aspects of worker well-being, whether it be a space for yoga, quick naps, or a moment of solitude (plus it can also double as a private and more restorative escape for nursing mothers). Switching gears from an environment of high productivity to relaxation in the office can be difficult. Our physical spaces can greatly impact our behavior and mindset. Establish a clear and distinct break from the rest of the office using softer textures and silhouettes, ambient lighting, and warmer colors. Think upholstered sofas and chaises, along with weighted blankets, plush throw pillows, or even a high-pile rug to help channel a cozy and soothing atmosphere for relaxation.
4. Nature Rooms
It’s no secret that the pandemic has led to a greater appreciation of the outdoors. Bringing the outdoors in, aka biophilic design, goes beyond incorporating plants and shrubbery into the space. In addition to plant life, providing access to natural light, including natural features like stone and wood, and embracing color are all biophilic design principles that have been proven to reduce stress, enhance mood, and improve creativity and productivity. Atriums with an abundance of glass windows are a popular choice for funneling natural light into central areas.
Indoor gardens are also trending due to their physical and mental benefits. Not only do indoor gardens add beautiful design elements that participate in solving common spatial problems, but they also aid in room acoustics and improve worker well-being.
In addition to bringing nature into the office, take the office outdoors. Access to the outdoors has become an increasingly desired amenity among employees, resulting in more courtyards, balconies, and rooftops being incorporated into the design of commercial buildings. The daylight and fresh air offer a healthy and stimulating workspace, a calming environment to relax, and even a change of scenery for meetings and presentations.
5. Comfortable Community-Centric Rooms
The office should foster the creation of experiences that are rarely encountered when working from home – connection, engagement, and collaboration. Carving out a dedicated community space with comfortable lounge seating where employees can regroup, grab a cup of coffee, and connect can help stimulate relaxed, impromptu collaboration and strong workplace culture.
Like the Recharge Rooms, the design and decor should reflect the intention of the space, with a focus on comfort and gathering. Our environments subconsciously influence our behavior, and furniture plays an important role here, so think lounge-like feel to encourage casual conversations and restoration. The community space should be a place where employees want to hang out.
6. Focus Rooms
It is important not to neglect the original purpose of the office as a space for productivity and work. To accommodate those who typically prefer working from home to avoid common office distractions and background noise, create a library-like space for heads-down focus. The Focus Room serves as the perfect counterpart to collaboration spaces, giving employees the option to zone in on work and research without being disturbed.
While the idea may seem counterintuitive, opt for larger communal “work” tables that mimic the library layout. Studies on social identity theory show that engaging in a shared workspace creates a sense of group identity, prompting more awareness of others. In this case, the library effect makes workers more inclined to keep noise levels down so as not to disturb others.
Super versatile and endlessly customizable, Parsons Tables can be pushed together to form a library table for collaborative work.
7. Home Rooms
87% of employees that are offered remote work spend an average of three days working from home each week. To fully support workers in and out of the office, on top of providing them with a thoughtful commercial office space, it’s important to equip them with a proper WFH setup too. A comfortable, ergonomic workspace encourages productivity and promotes well-being. Although not in an actual office, home office furniture needs the same quality and durability as commercial spaces to withstand wear and tear from pets, children, and everyday use.
About the author: Elise Nicpon is the director of business customer experience at Room & Board Business Interiors.
To read this publication in its entirety, click here.
If you want more information on how to incorporate one or more of these rooms into your space, drop us a line here. We’d love to hear from you.