The modern workplace is always evolving. Trends come and go, but in recent years, we are seeing more and more workplaces incorporate “causal” furnishings in their offices to cater to the workstyles of the newest generation of employees, known as “Generation Z.” These employees are challenging the “norm” of traditional learning spaces, expecting offices to include the casual furnishings and design that one would expect in an apartment or house. Here are a few tips for giving your workplace a more residential feel.
Update the Common Areas
A decade ago, the average workplace would consist of rows of cubicles and a few separate offices for upper-level staff and managers. Today, companies are trending towards more open spacing, with furniture you would typically find in a residential space. This layout not only opens up floor plans, but also encourages collaboration between employees who would otherwise be confined to their own space.
If you are ditching the cubicles, consider adding gathering tables throughout your office. These tables provide plenty of room for employees to set up their laptops and other materials, while also giving them the opportunity to work within close proximity to coworkers who may be collaborating together on a project. You can also add a sofa, chairs and cocktail table for impromptu meetings or for employees to relax and take a break. Research has shown that adding in these casual furnishings will make the office feel more like “home” to employees, which can improve morale, and as a result, improve work production. In addition to furniture, bringing in rugs, lamps, pillows and similar items can be the perfect final touch to the main space in an office.
Add a Café or Break Room
One trend that has existed for decades is having business meetings over coffee. Instead of driving to a nearby coffee shop, keep your internal coffee meetings in-house by designating part of your office space as a café or break room. While offices have been using these spaces for a long time, incorporating the latest furnishings can make a huge difference in your space. For example, CORT’s Leon with Helios Breakroom combines modern style with function and comfort to create an environment that fosters community and relaxation. This area will be the “getaway” for a lot of employees to debrief and unwind as needed throughout the day. Take the time to discuss their ideal setup and how they envision this space.
Because trends are always changing and designs are constantly evolving, many businesses opt to rent furniture instead of purchasing. By renting, a business has the flexibility to add and remove furniture as needed to accommodate their employees. As more and more millennials enter the workforce, the expectation of employees will continue to shift, so it’s imperative for businesses to be willing and able to adjust to keep up.