Custom Design Builds for Future Workspaces

Heather Van Essen

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Contingency Planning and Interior Design Scenarios for Remote Workers.

There are several areas to think about as employers look to determine the future of the current work-from-home environment.  It’s certainly important to, at minimum, understand that regardless of our timeline, remote work scenarios should remain top-of-mind as businesses plan for the future. Here are simply a few areas our team at Imprint Architects has thought about as we look to navigate a potential “new normal.” 

Applying Interior Design Techniques to Your Work-From-Home Space

As we know, non-essential businesses are feeling ‘work from home’ demands imposed on them due to this new vocabulary of “social distancing” and “shelter in place.” It is not that the vast majority of businesses are embracing remote work, rather, they are adapting to keep afloat during this trying time. The office landscape is no longer confined to a brick and mortar location. We are experiencing alternative work locations by way of crisis rather than choice. 

Maybe your remote office is your dining room table, makeshift desk, or your living room sofa. For many people working from home may be a new concept for your particular job position. As an employer, distributing work across a team that is working in separate locations has its challenges. Alternatively, it can actually project your business into a flexible work environment to recruit and retain employees. Regardless of whether you/your employees new work-from-home space is temporary or permanent, it’s important to design a productive ambiance to ensure maximum productivity, including how this space should be custom designed to meet individual needs. Our previous blog, Treat Your Remote Working Space Like a Custom Home Design, offers considerations when creating a home workspace.

Future Remote Work: A Barrier or the New Normal?

This current economic crisis – although no one would have wished for it – has already influenced future work strategies. Employers around the globe are –  or should be – putting thought into whether remote work opportunities are viable for their business structure, or if too many barriers exist to continue operations with the majority of your employees working in a remote fashion. Either way, it’s time to put together a comprehensive work-from-home plan to either embrace remote working as the new normal or to mitigate similar future scenarios.

 

Planning for a Flexible, Custom-Designed, Commercial Office Space

We discussed planning and interior design considerations for remote workers, but what about your in-office workspace? 

Our current need to work remotely may work for some industries long term, but physical office space is still a key function for many businesses who can use this “stay home” time to prepare commercial workspaces for a returning workforce. 

Create Space. The new need and desire to separate a bit more may cause business owners to restructure the way in which they operate in-office – especially if now factoring in employees working from multiple locations. Real estate space demands may decline if a desk for everyone is no longer necessary. If this applies to you, consider collaboration spaces. These lounge-like areas invite more casual discussions and collaborations, but also double as a client-interaction area. Clients appreciate experiencing office culture. 

Photos provided by Steelcase Inc.

Plan for Distance in Commercial Spaces. Resident workers with permanent desks at the office are anticipating more distance with in-office spaces when they return to work. More consideration may be given to how we work by incorporating more distance and reducing heavy traffic, close contact and minimizing shared space. Hallways may be designed in a clockwise fashion so foot traffic does not cross, preventing the spread of germs. 

Reallocate Your Cost-savings. The savings that might result from less internal space may be an overall corporate budget reduction or it could be reallocated into constructing more open shared spaces to accommodate this more flexible work environment.

Prep Infrastructure for Virtual. To support a more flexible onsite set-up, we have all seen how video conferencing is closing the gap of working from home feeling as if we are isolated from our coworkers. You may be using resources such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Microsoft Teams. Google Hangouts and other similar tools allow quick direct messaging as well as on-demand video calls. Sharing and retrieving files through a VPN (virtual private network) connection gives you everything you need at your fingertips. These interactive communication tools keep everyone on your team moments away from conversations, so ensure you plan for those accordingly as you are assessing your commercial office space.

Photos provided by Steelcase Inc.

Incorporate Mobile Working Environments. Designing a swing space for mobile workers can include drop-in desks, casual meeting tables, and relaxed soft seating. This type of landing area, similar to the photo here, provides a universal workspace for mobile workers helping them connect with team members and creating a sense of belonging to the greater team. Our interior design team at Imprint Architects can help you define swing spaces to incorporate hoteling stations which consist of smaller desks with minimal to no storage. Workers tag in and out of each desk, not necessarily using the same spot each time. 

Custom Design Planning and Resources

Reach out to our team at Imprint Architects if you would like help planning for and designing your office space.  During these times, we can help with creating custom commercial designs to keep your business operating in a productive, flexible, and safe manner.   

Work hard, stay healthy, and Leave Your Mark.  

Take a tour of our commercial office designs.

About the author
Heather Van Essen
Heather Van Essen

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Heather Van Essen is an Interior Designer at Imprint Architects. In this role, Heather recognizes that creating an experience for the user is important for human interaction within a space, and she works to help guide architectural designs with this in mind. At home, Heather leads a family of five (including 3 pets!) so spending time together in between the chaos of daily responsibilities is where her heart lies.