Why the need for an office welcome gathering place?
Just a few years ago, the office was everything. Remote work or occasional telecommuting was talked about, but in reality that practice was the exception. In 2018, only a third of the workforce could do their jobs at home, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s it like now?
A 2021 survey from FlexJobs conducted in July and August shows that up to 97 percent of workers want some form of remote work. The 10th annual survey shows that:
- 58 percent of respondents want to work remotely full-time
- 39 percent want a hybrid work environment
What’s going to happen, and how does this impact how you should plan and design your office space?
A Work Trend Index from Microsoft published in March 2021 found that 66 percent of employers worldwide are redesigning their offices to accommodate hybrid work arrangements.
We don’t know how long the hybrid work model will continue. If companies, and especially the major corporations, find that they’re more profitable with employees in the office, then there will be a push to have workers return either full-time or mostly full-time.
But we know that employees can easily be connected from their home offices. People are also saving money on commuting costs, especially with the current price of gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area ranging from $4.05 to nearly $5.00 a gallon.
Photo: HON Solve Chair
The reality is that our professional and personal worlds have merged like never before, and leading architects say that we shouldn’t make hard boundaries between the home and office.
Perhaps it’s time to blur the lines; a convergence. Merging spaces to accommodate this shift in our work culture and create a welcome gathering place.
Blurring Categories to Create a Welcome Gathering Place
At the NeoCon gathering in October 2021, the most important event for the commercial design industry, the award-winning architect and interior designer Lauren Rottet told attendees that, “The world separates us, wants to categorize us.”
She disagrees with the philosophy and is blending spaces through her designs.
Offices are becoming fun, says Rottet. When she’s pitching a major office design, she says she doesn’t hesitate to refer to previous work she’s done in hotels for inspiration to her clients.
Photo: HON Westhill Lounge
The trend is bringing communities together in a instead of separating them.
A keynote speaker at the conference, Jeanne Gang, and her firm designed the Vista Tower in Chicago which is a blend of hotel rooms, residential condominiums, a 5-star hotel, restaurants, and amenity spaces. It creates “a vibrant social center.”
This welcome gathering place concept is similar to the Paseo in Pasadena and the Americana in Glendale where retail shopping and living spaces go hand-in-hand.
The Re-Imagined Office
Imagine your office as a social center and not just as a place to work. Given today’s array of modular furniture and a range of office design options, it’s easy to do.
What do employees want?
They want to know that they’re valued.
According to Gallup, engaged employees are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.”
Engaged employees outperform their peers that are not engaged. Overall, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.
How does office planning and design accomplish this?
Having remote work options is one way, according to Chief Information Officer magazine. That means giving your team freedom to work in the office from the most comfortable locations.
Use welcome gathering place designs that bring out the best in people and provide balance as we merge our professional and personal lives.
The Resimercial office design remains popular for that reason. Elements of home, or a residence, are brought into the commercial setting. Create spaces for people to meet and eat like using informal conference tables that double as a lunch or snack site. The spaces are warm, inviting, and informal so the sharing of ideas and interaction can take place easily and in a way that’s relational and not rigid.
Photo: OFS Obeya Wall and Nineteen20 Table
Photo: Safco Resi Collaboration Workstation
Use colors that stimulate creativity and are calming, and select attractive furniture that’s durable and made with antimicrobial fabrics.
Photo: Stylex Still Screens
Get Expert Input on a Welcome Gathering Place
Get more ideas for planning your office as community using the expertise of 2010 Office Furniture. Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has about 50 years of combined experience working with Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and small business from Los Angeles and Orange Counties to the Inland Empire.
Contact us and let us know about your potential project needs. We can help you create the welcome gathering place for your office.