Commercial spaces – office buildings, business parks, office neighborhoods – are going through a serious identity and even existence crisis. When work from home becomes an option, why come to the office at all?
This is the time to reconsider the traditional assumptions behind the way commercial spaces used to be designed – as functional spaces for people to get together and survive for roughly 8 hours.
The real estate development sector (especially the kind working on commercial spaces) and business leaders in general need to rethink what future offices will look like.
For very long, homes have remained private spaces and workplaces have remained spaces for professional life. In the last one year, we’ve seen the two converge.
What does this convergence say about changing working styles and working hours? How does it impact the workspace design?
Business leaders, team leaders and senior management people in organizations need to understand how to make sense of this change in order to be able to steer their teams and organizations further.
Commercial spaces face the challenge of reinventing themselves so that they remain relevant in contemporary times.
Let us look at 6 ideas:
- Create spaces for exercising, zones for listening to music, walking tracks, unwinding in lounge areas make a workplace more of home.
- Think beyond workstations, meeting rooms, conference rooms, desks, tables, chairs, and cupboards.
- Accommodate team members as individuals and as people, instead of seeing them as employees.
- Reflect on this research by Gensler (insert link: https://www.gensler.com/us-wps-2020-in-an-era-of-choice-workers-still-prefer-the) and identify your organization on the spectrum of high-performing workplaces to low-performing workplaces. People working low-performing workplaces tend to prefer working from home rather than in offices.
- Embrace the idea that creativity emerges in different ways from different people. People deserve to be treated with independence, respect, and trust. And their workspace needs to be designed to keep them comfortable and enthusiastic about ideas and projects.
- Recognize the need for breaks and the urge to get away from monotonous work. Certain spaces with the help of furniture, color, textures around them, view from the window become liberating or constraining. See where your office stands vis-à-vis these elements.
Therefore, the question is: should offices remain offices, the antithesis of homes?
Homes, by definition, invoke the idea of comfort and privacy and personal space. These are virtues that help in bringing out and nurturing one’s creativity.
Offices, on the other hand, are uptight places that seek to categories people in pigeon-holes.
So, what would you like to do to redesign your office? The small changes you make in your offices are likely to lead to wider changes materializing in the redesigning of commercial spaces as a whole.
Share your thoughts, inspiration, and ideas below.