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Can resimmercial design help businesses recruit staff?

A survey of 2000 UK workers by Mindspace (a co-working and collaborative workspace provider), uncovered some disconcerting opinions among employees. A surprising 16% of 18 to 24-year-olds said that they had left a job because of its poor workplace design. A further 31% of workers felt their current work environment was uninspiring, while 28% stated that their workplace is simply outdated and dull.

Another study by Office Genie in 2017, a whacking 45% of employees were frustrated at the lack of collaborative spaces in their place of work. And 20% actually stated that their work environment hindered their ability to do their job.

So how does a modern business attract, and retain, the more discerning generation of employees a.k.a. the millennials? What can office design do to improve worker happiness? Would adopting resimmercial design help with your businesses recruitment challenges?

What is resimmercial design?

The word ‘resimmercial’ is a blend of two words: residential and commercial. And this is exactly what resimmercial design is all about – blending home and work life. By creating spaces that are more home-like and less like a place of work, designers are hoping to make the office a more comfortable place to be.

Resimmercial design follows on from commercial spaces that have introduced more creativity to their premises. Sometimes, that may have been through necessity such as the “hot-desking” concept. Other reasons include wanting to change the atmosphere to make it more productive or relaxed.

Resimmercial design

Workplaces that feel more like home. Resimmercial design.

The main principles are creating spaces that feel warm, welcoming and homely plus flexibility for employees with different working preferences. This is predominantly achieved by opting for non-traditional office furniture, moving away from neutral tones and adding more natural textures into the work environment.

What are the features of resimmercial design?

Communal and casual areas

Think less “open-plan office” and more hotel lobby. These areas are lounge spaces with casual seating arrangements that are conducive to conversation. But likewise, a good resimmercial space also more secluded spots for those times when someone needs a quiet place to work.

Multi-functional spaces

By assigning less purpose to a space you allow it to adapt to the needs of the people working there. A room isn’t a meeting room because it’s just another space that could be used for a meeting. Is that a coffee bar or a standing desk? The user decides.

Soft edges and rich textures

That oh-so-typical modular office furniture is replaced with less ‘officey’ pieces often in vibrant colours or natural materials such as wood, cork or bamboo. There are more fabric coverings in a resimmercial space including tactile velvets, prints and other interesting textures. Just like all the curtains, carpets, cushions and upholstery that you would expect to find in a comfortable home.

Resimmercial design is a relaxing work environment

Resimmercial feels like you could be working whilst sitting on your sofa at home

Closer to nature

Resimmercial design often incorporates biophilic principles too. The use of plants helps to create a healthy and relaxing environment As does other natural materials such as stone and water. There may even be a fish tank (ok, that’s very “dentist’s waiting room” and nothing new but, aw, look at the fishies!).

Why choose resimmercial for your office?

An important factor that influences a millennial’s decision making, whether it is spending money or choosing a company to work for, is the ethics and authenticity of a brand or employer. Creating positive working environments shows a commitment to staff welfare above and beyond what any brochure or HR person can demonstrate. And this will be important for any prospective millennial candidate.

Once you’ve attracted talented people to your business it’s important to retain them. The cost of hiring a new employee can cost as much as what you’re paying them. Offering a flexible work environment will help to keep your employees happy and productive. Of course, flexibility must include options for not working in the office in the first place. Reducing staff turnover helps reduce the overall cost of recruitment.

Stress and the mental health of our colleagues is a serious topic. Ping pong tables and breakout areas aren’t remedies for depression. But sympathetic resimmercial design can, in part, offer a less intense working environment for anyone going through a mental illness.

Get it right and the result is fresh, valued and happy staff. And since happiness is a powerhouse, this can lead to improvements in productivity, better work/life balance and fewer sick days. It’s a win-win.

Happy workers in resimmercial office

Ok, there’s a happy worker and then there’s this guy.

Of course, this flexible, adaptable and spontaneous office design could not exist without the advent of mobile computing. WiFi and other technologies that have freed us from the standard 1.5m power cable “leash” are fueling this office place revolution. But is the idea of a progressive workplace anything new? Read our blog post on the history of office design to find out.

 

ViBe Student Living Case Study: Adding a homely feel

ViBe Student Living is an “…ultra-modern, purpose-built and fully interior-designed” student accommodation in Kingston Upon Thames. Being only a short walk from both Kingston University and St Mary’s University, ViBe offers a flexible and vibrant modern accommodation option for students. It has everything: a gym, communal and social areas, a cinema room and private study areas.

ViBe Student Living reached out to Floresy. They wanted to add warmth to their new Kingston site using Floresy’s range of artificial plants. And rightly so. ViBe is a home from home for its residents and its little touches like greenery that add a homely feel. The brief was to work within the main communal areas.

With a property such as ViBe, however, it’s important to add to the existing fresh decor without detracting from the original, well, vibe. Floresy needed to work with the current interior design to come up with a solution that works for this unique accommodation offering and for the client’s budget.

The Process

The process always begins with a conversation. It’s important that we fully understand our client’s needs. Next are site visits where we can gather information on the layout, existing design and start to come up with ideas of how our artificial plants can enhance the space. Once all the information and requirements have been gathered, we produce a proposal:

ViBe Student Living proposal example

Existing ViBe Student Living floor plans plus on-site photos help the client visualise our proposal

Throughout the process, we keep a dialogue open with our client as this helps keep everybody on track. It’s also important for the client to feel involved and in control. We discuss each option and make any changes the client wishes. Once the decision is made, its time to produce and install the artificial plants and arrangements.

Residential Case Study for ViBe Student Living

A row of box hedging plays with the outside-inside to create a fun corridor past the notice board.

Residential Case Study for ViBe Student Living Window planting

The plant arrangements add interest to an awkward spot. The planting and grey containers reflect the planting outside on the street.

ViBe student living case study

This architectural feature creates a comfortable, semi-private seating area. Floresy’s trailing artificial plant arrangement helps to soften the pillar as it gives a more homely feel.

ViBe Student Living case study wall hanging artificial plant arrangement

Even the bin area is more glamorous when Florey’s awesome wall hanging flower arrangements are around.

Using our knowledge and expertise we helped our client realise their brief. The resulting communal areas have more warmth, vibrancy and homely feel without detracting from its modern style.

If you would like Floresy’s help with an installation or design project, please contact us here and we can start the conversation today.

 

A short history of office design: evolution of the workplace

The history of office design reads almost like a history of society.

History of office design: the first office buildings

Administration is probably the second oldest profession in the world. Every ancient civilisation would have needed it and the administrators, no doubt, needed some sort of office (including the obligatory uncomfortable desk chair). The first purpose-built office building in the UK is still in use today. It’s believed to be the iconic Old Admiralty Office that stands on the banks of the River Thames in London. Built in 1726, it’s purpose was to accommodate and process the significant amount of paperwork generated by the Royal Navy. 

East India House, also in London, closely follows The Old Admiralty Office. Embracing the benefits of centralised administration, office buildings began appearing all over the capital and beyond. As you would expect from 18th century Britain, the office class system was immediate. A governmental report on office layout recommended separate rooms for more “intellectual work”. Whilst for the “more mechanical work”, a number of clerks would be housed in the same room (under the proper superintendence, naturally).

Offices of the early twentieth century

Offices were originally part of factory buildings. And they were run like factories too. Many followed the principles created by the mechanical engineer, Frank Taylor. “Taylorism” sort to maximise efficiency by filling vast open-plan offices with rows upon rows of office workers. Needless to say, his methodology lacked the human touch and those offices probably more closely resembled factory-farming than they do a modern day office.

As technology allowed skyscrapers to grow in size in the 1930s, so did the amount of office space. And this allowed for more congenial working conditions. The open plan office began to include private offices for meetings and managers plus communal spaces like kitchens and canteens. Lifts allowed buildings to go higher while electric lighting and air conditioning helped improve the worker’s experience.

Birth of the modern office

Thanks to the Great Depression and a world war, it wasn’t until the 1960s that office design really starts to embrace human interaction, however. Burolandschaft, a concept from Germany, means “office landscape”. It first grew in popularity across northern Europe before spreading to the rest of the world. Layouts were less regimented and the first significant use of office plants was seen. It’s easy to understand how modern office layout design attributes itself to Burolandschaft.

A greater variety of working spaces including communal areas, meeting rooms plus more private individual desks lead the sociable and gregarious Burolandschaft designs to morph into the Action Office(!). Women also began to enter the workforce in greater number during this period. The creation of the desk ‘modesty panel’ quickly followed.

history of office design

So much sexism, so little time

Dark times

However, the addition of autonomous and private working spaces of the Action Office lead the history of office design down a dark alley. As modular office furniture too evolved to meet office trends, the infamous office cubicle was born, nay, spawned. Cubicle farms began to more closely resemble Taylorism than Burolandschaft as the profit-over-people mentality of the 1980s peaked.

Where is office design today?

Despite an uninteresting office design period known as the 1990s, the decade did witness the dawn of the digital revolution. It was this paradigm shift that allowed employees to finally emerge from their cubicle cocoons and see sunlight for the first time in almost two decades. This is perhaps the biggest leap forward in the history of office design.

And technology continues to play the most significant role in office layout evolution. Whilst the concept of a private cubicle desk still exists today, workers are no longer confined to them because of mobile computing. The Cloud, WiFi and decent batteries allow people to work wherever they choose. 

Resimmercial design – when working from home meets open plan office – encourages comfortable and flexible working spaces that feel more like home than the office. Choices of where to work (or where not to work when on a break) can assist a person’s schedule or simply support how they are feeling that day. Collaborate and creative spaces allow teams to work together or hold meetings and presentations. Whilst secluded nooks and pods cater for more quietly productive working.

The future of office design

It’s hard to predict the future but we can learn from the past. Technology has shaped our offices just as much as how an individual’s value within society has. It is likely that a greater respect for people’s health and family life will see a flexible working revolution. In a global society with growing access to virtual and augmented realities and 3D printing, these technologies will no doubt also shape how and when we work. Or the AI overlords will rise up and we’ll back in the cubicle farms where we belong.