We’ve already explored the debate surrounding remote working and the question of whether businesses should allow their staff to work from home. But a broader trend is emerging that attempts to combine the ideas of work and home; resimercial design.
We take a look behind the trend and explore whether there are any benefits to your workplace looking like your home.
The remote working reversal
One of the possible catalysts for a move towards offices that combine residential and commercial design strategies is the perceived backlash to remote working from some large organisations.
Businesses that pioneered the “work from home” movement across corporate America have been reversing their position.
Technology has made it easier to telecommute and collaborate remotely with colleagues. As a result, companies began to use the perk of working from home to attract and retain employees.
However, some businesses started to raise concerns about staff abusing the privilege.
In 2013, a confidential memo from Yahoo’s CEO was leaked that gave hundreds of employees the ultimatum to work in the office or quit.
More recently, IBM announced that around 2,600 employees would be required to work in one of six US cities. If they chose not to, they’d have to look for a new job.
Collaboration and Serendipity
Critics of remote working argue that modern work structures require a level of collaboration that can’t be achieved without some face-to-face interaction.
A Harvard study on the water cooler effect found that researchers who worked in close physical proximity produced more impactful papers.
Another study, using data from badges that recorded employee interaction, suggested that employees who had more chance encounters performed better.
This move away from allowing staff to work remotely has meant that some companies are embracing an office interior design style that makes the working environment more comfortable and homely.
Hence the coining of the portmanteau phrase; resimercial design.
What is Resimercial Design?
As the mixture of terms suggests, it’s a design concept that attempts to merge the aesthetics and principles of residential and domestic interior design with those of workplace interior design.
Rather than just making a meeting space look like a living room, it’s about creating comfortable environments that transform the office into somewhere that employees actually look forward to working in.
There’s no place like the workplace
The question we raised at the beginning of this blog was; do you really want your workspace to look like your home?
While there are plenty of arguments on either side for productivity levels rising in both more casual and more formal work settings, ever the pragmatists, we believe that the best solution has to be a combination.
Photo: Mark Mahaney
For Airbnb, designing rooms to look like examples of their own listings is part of the Airbnb company culture.
Photo: Jeremy Bittermann
In the same way, Rapt Studio’s design for the offices of the online genealogy company, Ancestry, incorporated residential-style “Family Rooms” to reflect their brand.
It’s important to note that the homely, family aspects in both of these designs specifically reflect elements of the business.
Having said that, incorporating comfort into a workplace design can still be achieved when the overall goal for the working environment is to improve productivity. After all, it’s just as important to give people somewhere to get away from it all.
Many of the office design projects that we have worked on contain a mix of spaces that encourage people to choose the space that best meets their needs. Whether they want to be productive, creative or just relax.
The intention behind the kitchen breakout area that we created in the S3 Advertising office design, as well as their multi-person hammock, was to encourage staff to have a break away from their desk as well as socialise.
The staff break-out areas at KPMG’s South Coast offices encouraged a collaborative working approach and were specifically designed to look homely and welcoming.
Gorilla Post Production used existing furniture to retain the boutique feel of their former offices, allowing us to create a new space that was comfortable and welcoming as well as creative and stylish.
If you’d like us to explore how you could introduce a resimercial design into your workplace, contact the team at Paramount.