Since the 1980s, academics and tech leaders have argued that remote work is possible, especially for knowledge workers. But it wasn’t until the pandemic that companies in wealthy industrialized countries were forced into a global remote-work experiment. While we have learned that most tasks and meetings can be accomplished outside the office, it has also become increasingly clear that the interpersonal interactions facilitated by shared workspaces are more important than ever.
Hybrid Work Is Here to Stay.
As roughly 75% of companies implement permanent hybrid work models,1 businesses have begun to view the office less as a place for checking off to-do lists, and more as a culture space that facilitates connections, enables learning and fosters collaboration.2 The key to unlocking those potentials lies in spaces that make people feel at home, which is why many companies are incorporating home-like elements into workspace design: soft textiles, living-room style furniture, homey bookshelves and mood-boosting lighting.
At McCoy Rockford’s Taste of NeoCon 2023 in Houston, Vice President of Business Development Kim Bishop shared her top takeaways from NeoCon 2023. Residential-inspired design was high on her list of commercial trends. Businesses are recognizing that comfortable spaces boost wellness, productivity and positivity, partly because the effort to implement such changes communicates to employees that they are valued and respected. And when team members know they’re commuting to a pleasing space that offers something they can’t get at home — connection and collaboration — they’re much more motivated to make the drive.
Here, we’ll explore pieces that bring the comforts of home into the workplace.
Living Room-Inspired Style.
Sofas and comfy chairs create a more relaxed atmosphere, which is ideal for small-group huddles and one-on-one conversations. Lounge pieces like these Wingback Chairs by Tom Dixon and Cloud Sofa by Bolia allow employees to relax in the intimacy of an environment that feels like a living room. Such spaces can improve the quality of sharing and encourage openness among employees.3 You can further enhance these spaces with throw pillows, blankets and accent lighting.
Tie It All Together.
Rugs can delineate spaces and transform a disconnected group of furnishings into a cohesive vignette. Just as importantly — rugs are associated with residential spaces, so they impart a homey feel that makes team members feel more at ease and open to authentic conversations. They’re perfect for collaborative spaces such as conference rooms and small-group living rooms, as well as private offices. We’re particularly fond of Madison Lily rugs, which come in a range of aesthetics and weaves.
Don’t Forget the Walls.
Your walls offer more than just space division. They’re also a blank canvas for artwork that can inspire and uplift employees. NBBJ Architects, for example, incorporated a rotating art installation by projecting images on wall-mounted screens.3 You can accomplish something similar using technology or simply refreshing your artwork on a regular basis. At McCoy Rockford’s Idea Collider in the Texas Medical Center, planar and sculptural pieces are regularly updated by IDEA Art Consulting, an art curation and procurement service. However you manage your collection, keeping your walls fresh will encourage innovation and creativity.
Embrace People-Friendly Lighting.
The harsh fluorescent overheads that have defined office lighting for the past several decades are slowly being phased out — and for good reason. In addition to creating a cold and formal aesthetic, fluorescent lights can cause stress, fatigue, migraines and a host of eye problems. To make workspaces feel more homey, maximize natural light and opt for accent lighting such as table and floor lamps, pendants and accent fixtures, where possible. Warmer lightbulbs will help to infuse spaces with a more residential feel while diminishing eye strain.
For a smarter overhead lighting solution, consider suspended and mounted fixtures by LightArt, which are equipped with dimmers and come in a range of styles and color options. Looking for accent lamps for an office living room area? We’re particularly fond of Flos’ table and floor lamps.
Interested in upgrading your office with homey pieces that excite employees and support collaboration? McCoy Rockford is here to help! Contact us to get started on your project.