Walking into any newly opened office space these days often leads to a certain confusion – have I just entered someone’s living room or do people actually work here?
There’s the comfortable sofa, the big plants, a game room and a home cinema and even a well equipped kitchen worthy of any given restaurant. So what is going on and what is behind this homification of the workplace?
Technology has made it possible to work from anywhere at any time and therefore work these days is no longer a place you go to but something you do. So, faced with this given, how do employers get their employeers to come to the office?
One way is to make it more attractive. According to the World Economic Forum, in 5 years from now, one of the top 3 most important skills is going to be creativity.
Finnish designer Joanna Laajisto designed the new offices of Fjord, a creative agency based in Helsinki, featuring spaces for casual meetings and soft furnishings that offer a homely feel. Photo © Studio Joanna Laajisto.
What greater way to boost the creativity of your workforce than by allowing them to work flexible hours in a homely atmosphere which reduces stress and creates happier employees.
According to another study conducted by Fuze , a Boston based cloud communications and collaboration platform, the flexibility in working hours also leads to increased productivity and higher levels of engagement. When employees feel they are being valued for the output they produce instead of the amount of hours they spend at the office, they are more likely to excel.
StudioTate designed the new head office of PDG in Melbourne to facilitate a feeling of wellbeing of their employees. Photo © Peter Clarke
Last but not least, an important driving force behind this trend is the fact that if allowed to work the way you want and the hours you want, when people do come to the office, it is to have actual contact with their colleagues. It increases the social cohesion between the employees and creates out-of-the-box opportunities. As the service design lead of Fjord, depicted above, tells Dezeen “people even use the office in their spare time for movie nights and casual hang-outs”.
The Wing, a women-only co-working club in Brooklyn, designed by Chiara De Rege to resemble a series of living rooms. Photo © Dezeen.
Design Studio Casework designed the new offices for Work & Co in Portland, US, focussing on facilitating flexible working. Photo © Nicole Mason.