There is no doubt that COVID-19 changed the way we live and work in 2020.
As we continue to adapt and re-imagine the post-COVID-19 future, we need to think about the soul of the office. The soul of an office space is the company, its culture and its team. What creative, bold ways can we bring it back to life so that employees feel safe, stay productive and are excited to come back to the office?
We turn to interior design for help.
In 2019 a term was bounced around the commercial interior design world: "Resimercial." This is a concept that uses a combination of "residential" and "commercial" interior design. A resimercial workplace blends aspects of home furnishings into the contemporary office. When well-executed, this creates a more relaxed environment that promotes collaboration, productivity and employee well-being. This interior design style is even more important for workplaces in 2021 than it was in 2019.
The main goal of resimercial office design is to create a workspace that is comfortable and fun to be in, something that employees are increasingly demanding as they hesitate to return to the office full-time. However, rather than just putting residential objects in an office building, resimercial design is thoughtfully customized for the needs and soul of each company.
Here are five resimercial interior design tips to make your office feel welcoming, comfortable and safe while promoting productivity:
1. Offer a flexible open area for lounge furniture.
We were all used to working on our laptops while sitting on the couch at home. You can give your employees the same luxury in the office.
By abandoning a traditional office design and providing spaces that feel more like living rooms, employers promote comfort, which leads to employee collaboration and creativity. This will then transform the office environment into somewhere that employees look forward to working in. Consider adding a variety of spaces to best meet employees' needs.
2. Add greenery.
Sometimes it's the feel of an office space that makes it resimercial and comfortable. This feeling can be achieved through ambient features like incorporating natural elements. In addition to being visually pleasing, when placed properly throughout an office space, inexpensive plants will improve air quality and help with noise reduction.
Even if you do not have a green thumb, there are beautiful silk plants or easy succulents that still add the feeling of home.
3. Clean out the clutter.
One of the stressful things when working from home is knowing you have a dirty kitchen or piles of laundry on the other side of your office door. Assess if employees need more storage or organization tools to aid them in decluttering. When the office is a neat zone, people will be able to concentrate better.
4. Maintain commercial quality and durability.
Upholstery tends to be the first thing to wear, so commercial fabric manufacturers have started to soften their durable products and incorporate more residential-looking patterns and colors. When designing a resimercial office space, interior designers like to specify lounge seating in subdued colors, such as browns and grays. This color palette for fabric tends to illicit a "homey feeling" versus a stark, corporate white.
5. Office furniture.
Choosing a furnishing style that brings a sense of comfort and a residential feel into the workplace is essential in the resimercial design movement. Don't forget that the furniture must be durable, and most residential pieces aren't made for the high levels of traffic and usage that offices have.
The good news is that many office furniture manufacturers have now incorporated resimercial design into their product lines, so it is easy to choose commercial grade furniture that looks like it belongs in a home.
Regardless of a company's industry, "essential" status, or date of reopening, people want to be comfortable at work.
Resimercial office design can bring warmth and friendliness into the soul of the workplace while still maintaining a professional atmosphere. Many employees are attracted to work environments that feel more like a home-away-from-home and incorporating resimercial design is a great way to step in that direction.
Give your employees an environment that they are excited to come back to work in. They will not mind leaving their homes in the morning to drive to the beautiful, organized office.
Employees will start to see how productive they can be in the office and feel good about leaving work at work and enjoying home how it should be -- without work.
• Colleen Baader is the senior vice president and co-owner of Vertical Interior Design, a full-service commercial interior design firm located in Elgin.