Post-COVID reality: employees expect more from their work environment. Thoughtful interior design and amenities help make the workplace more of a happy place.
With the days of vast cubicle fields behind us, many companies are looking to make changes to their office environments to keep their employees happy, comfortable, and motivated. The COVID pandemic re-aligned workplace culture and showed both commercial landlords and employers that employees want more from their workplaces than free coffee and a standing desk. The need for thoughtful interior design and valuable amenities is more important than ever as companies continue to navigate this new landscape.
Hybrid schedules have overwhelmingly become the new norm for most employees, so office design and amenity selection are changing to meet the needs of these workers. Flexible workspaces allow employees to choose a work environment that suits the specific task they’re doing any given day, helping them work more effectively and efficiently. Some examples are:
- Multi-use meeting rooms
- Quiet, private rooms for solitary work
- Enlarged social spaces such as lounges, cafes, and kitchens
- Varied seating options
All flexible workspaces should have access to remote communications so that employees can seamlessly communicate with their teams no matter their locations. Offices have become primarily a central location for collaboration, team-building, and knowledge-sharing, so flexible design and workspaces provide countless options for tailoring an ideal work environment.
The ability to personalize and customize a workspace is incredibly valuable to employees. When employees have control over the noise level, lighting, temperature, and other factors, they are able to adjust their environment to what they need to produce their best work.
Locus Design Collaborative’s client RightClick wanted a way to implement flex spaces that could be converted to offices or workstations as the firm grew and evolved. We designed a space that was functional, flexible, and fun – check out the local art showcased throughout the office!
BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN
Studies have shown that plants and greenery in a work environment reduce stress, increase focus, and improve mood. Creative installations such as “living walls” as well as more traditional plants provide peaceful decor while improving indoor air quality.
Natural light is incredibly beneficial for offices and has also been shown to improvemood and increase focus and productivity. Swapping out solid walls for glass and taking advantage of natural light throughout the office creates a more appealing and healthy environment for employees. Our client CSC Sugar’s Westport, CT office renovation features endless natural light and a new balcony featuring a glass wall that opens to stunning views of the Saugatuck River.
Some workplaces go an extra step and bring the workplace outdoors. Patios, decks, and courtyard spaces allow employees to take advantage of good weather instead of woefully wishing they weren’t stuck inside at a desk – just be sure to have connectivity!
SUPPORTING WORKERS’ BUSY LIVES
Employees with full, busy lives want to be supported in their non-work-related responsibilities too. By offering access to (and discounts for!) amenities like dry- cleaning or laundry service, cafes, take-home meal services, childcare, car detailing, and fitness centers, workers will see the office as a natural component of their lives.
A key support to include is a dedicated, private space for nursing mothers to express breastmilk at work. Per federal law, employers are required at minimum to provide a space that is functional (at minimum, has a chair and a flat surface for equipment), shielded from view, free from intrusion, available whenever someone needs to pump, and is not a bathroom. Ensuring lactation spaces have options like electrical outlets, a sink, a small refrigerator, comfortable seating, and relaxing decor will help nursing mothers feel supported as they navigate their work lives and their parenting.
Companies or landlords that are considering updating office and common spaces with new options and amenities shouldn’t hesitate to engage employees in these discussions! Collaborating with the people who will be using these spaces every day is a surefire way to ensure that the office environment is one that will make them want to be there.
Locus Design Collaborative has the experience and the vision to create an office environment that meets the needs of both companies and their employees, all while keeping you on budget, on time, and on brand. Contact us today to discuss your next design challenge!