The Future Workplace: The Rise of the Office Experience

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The Future Workplace: The Rise of the Office Experience

Working environments have changed in recent years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic placed a focus on working from home, and later, hybrid working amidst a return to the office.

Hybrid working resulted in the rethinking and optimisation of workplace strategies, bringing the rise of ‘the office experience’.

The new office experience

Research into the psychology of the workspace has highlighted how people engage and identify with an organisation. The dividing line between work and personal life was blurred during the pandemic as employees were surrounded by home comforts during working hours. This has resulted in the ‘domestification’ of the workplace and the introduction of ‘third spaces’.

Work has also evolved, with employees now being expected to carry out their jobs by working in a wide variety of styles, creating the need for versatile spaces to accommodate silence and concentrative zones as well as collaborative areas.

What is ‘domestification’ of the workplace?

With the continued blurring of lines between work and home life, companies are making a conscious effort to make the office feel like home away from home for their employees. This trend has been coined the ‘domestification’ of the workspace.

Google presents an excellent demonstration of domestification, introducing home furnishings to their offices across the world including nap pods, on-site gyms and green areas.

Domestification of the workplace goes beyond the integration of home furnishings, however, and can be seen in design trends such as biophilic workspaces and ‘third’ spaces.

What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design involves incorporating the natural world into a built environment. Biophilic design appreciates the connection that humans have with their surrounding environments, and how they interact with all forms of nature throughout their working day. It goes beyond the addition of plants on desks, with six core principles;

  1. Environmental features
  2. Natural shapes and forms
  3. Natural patterns and process
  4. Light and space
  5. Place based relationships
  6. Evolved human-nature relationships

Studies have shown that biophilic design boosts employee engagement, productivity and reduces stress levels.

What are ‘third’ spaces?

The ‘third space’ refers to a social sphere outside of the first place (home) and second place (office), that is comfortable and welcoming. The third space cultivates relationships and forges a sense of community and equality.

The most effective third spaces take cues from hotels, lounges, restaurants and spas; places that people associate with relaxation, refreshment and socialising. After employees engage with the third space, they enter a different frame of mind that is more conducive to creative ideas and new connections.

Flexible work spaces offering accessibility to amenity-rich work environments

The rise of the office experience has highlighted the demand for amenity-rich spaces as companies moving away from dimly-lit offices with siloed areas in remote locations. Flexible workspaces offer smaller companies to benefit from such amenity-rich spaces without the need to invest heavily in their own space.

Flexible workspaces can also maintain a level of culture within companies, providing colleagues to continue to interact with one another whilst allowing them the freedom to work from home when necessary.

Re-examining the future of work and the future workplace

The future workspace will be an adaptable environment, tailored towards employees’ needs to create an overall ‘office experience’. The office experience has been deemed to have a positive impact on productivity, mental health and even staff turnover as employers look to integrate ‘third spaces’ and domesticate the workspace.

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