Rethinking Office Style
Design features and savvy amenities are appreciated, but it’s important to start with the basic comforts that people have become accustomed to while working from home.
With change as the only constant, we are called to rethink what we know to be true for our workplaces. Personal preferences are the key to unlock the present state of work today. As employees gradually trickle back into the workplace, they are coming with new expectations for the office. Remote work is here to stay in some regard, but it is not as great as we hoped.
No one wants to come back to a sparsely populated office as the lone occupant amongst countless empty workstations. We need to look at the office as a space to accommodate a variety of activities. These activities can take place in spaces that are best suited for their intentions. Whether it be a wide-open lounge area or a secluded office, these different touchdown spaces will closely replicate the feeling of choosing a “room” to set up in at home.
An efficient way to achieve this is by investing in furniture that can be moved as desired. Furniture with small features such as a hook on their desk for a purse or a small lockable drawer elevate the office experience. Sit to stand desks and ergonomic chairs provide the benefit of choice to the employee as they can exert control over how they work in the office, as well as the tools they use to do so.
The challenge is convincing facilitators that design considerations, even minor ones, can go a long way in improving user experience. They aren’t necessarily critical to the work but more to the culture of value a company can demonstrate to its employees. Strategy is about seizing opportunity. Robert Propst with Herman Miller invented the first office landscape. He dreamed of a flexible office space, one with quality furnishings that had the option for privacy. A lot overruled the vision of Propst, deeming it too progressive at the time. Now the time has changed and will continue to. An untold number of social, cultural, and environmental indicators demand that we rethink the way we style our offices.