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31% of workers felt their current work environment was uninspiring, while 28% stated that their workplace is simply outdated and dull.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.