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Office common space with grey armchairs and orange tables. 2 wood booths with bench seating at center enclosed front, back, above

A Workplace Evolution: From Office to Destination 

Jeremy Reding

The future of the workplace is no longer ahead of us – it’s here. Workplace design that differentiated office spaces over the past couple of years, like adaptable/flexible spaces, is now a baseline standard. We have upped the ante to deliver designs that best resonate with the culture, values, and personalities of each individual organization we work with. We’re enhancing their spaces by providing employees with choices of how they work and enjoy their space, infusing hospitality design, and delivering amenity-rich, wellness-focused, state-of-the-art technology offerings. In a time where employees have so many options of where to work, we’re transforming the workplace into a true destination that engages employees and promotes their best work while meeting the needs that compete with work-from-home or other remote working possibilities.

Surpassing the Standard

The standard corporate office with a sea of desks is a thing of the past. Employees are utilizing office space differently, and workplace design has changed to meet their new movements, work preferences, and the comings and goings of teams. The foundation for elevated, contemporary workplace design is flexibility and adaptability, which has become an expected standard practice. However crucial this is to employee satisfaction, efficient work, and high-grade, unique amenities are what sets one workplace apart from the others.

To make the workplace a destination, its amenities must reflect the same comfort, luxury, energy, and convenience employees have come to love while working from home or at their favorite local spot. Gyms, maternity rooms, and cafes are commonplace, but more hospitality-infused amenity spaces are catching employees’ eye and driving their interaction with their workplace. Amenity offerings are a huge driver in attracting guests to hotels – and organizations are taking a page from the hospitality market to entice their teams into the office and provide them with a healthy, happy, and fun work environment. They also provide a convenience factor for employees – allowing them to access experiences without having to venture outside of their office if they don’t want to – everything they need is at their fingertips. The most unique offerings in the market come in the form of gaming rooms, permanent on-site food and ice cream trucks, tech innovation rooms, and podcast rooms to create content on-site.

Intentional productivity-focused spaces allow employees to work in different ways that best complement their work style and atmosphere. Luxurious, cozy libraries and individual phone-booth-style pods promote quiet work, while multi-person breakout rooms with soft seating accommodate collaborative work. The varying size and styles of spaces throughout the office allow employees to venture through the workspace and experience a new way of working each day, just like they would if they moved from home to a café to a park if working remotely without leaving the campus. Choice of work venue within the workspace dovetailed with touches of amplified aesthetics are crucial to creating an environment that appeals to employees and allows them to work productively and efficiently.

The Wellness Factor

Health and wellness practices shouldn’t take a back seat when employees get into the office, so employers are prioritizing facilitating their teams’ holistic needs to improve their emotional, mental, and physical well-being in and outside of the office. From a health and wellness standpoint, companies are infusing their spaces with spas, massage rooms, fitness centers with on-site classes, and cafes stocked with healthy food options from local and national vendors. Access to outdoor activities through gardening areas, basketball courts, and kayaks for lake-side workplaces connects employees to their surroundings and gives them a reprieve from their workday. Furnished elevated workspaces outside also give them additional spaces to work and are easily transformed into social spaces to accommodate company events and concerts. Wellness in the workplace doesn’t stop at wellness-focused amenities, spaces, and programs; it includes the materials used and design strategies implemented in the space. The use of natural and nature-inspired materials and Red List Free materials, visually comfortable lighting, restorative spaces for non-work activities, optimal acoustics, and active furnishing take wellness full circle to provide a healthy and happy work environment.

palette boards on walls with various color samples, inspiration images, and flowers and leaves pinned up. two people look on

We Want You to Want to Be Here

Purposeful design, amenities, and variation that resonates with employees are crucial to creating an engaging environment and shifting the mindset from the workplace being somewhere you must be to one you want to be at. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all formula. It’s our job as designers to understand the pulse of each organization’s objective and culture to cultivate a space that meshes with employees. We’re keeping our sights on the continuing evolution of the workplace, taking note of what consistently works, and prioritizing design that can stand the test of time. Providing what we think  they want and need doesn’t cut it. Building consensus, surveying employees, and integrating ourselves into our clients’ community, engaging and conversing with them during planning and design help us understand how to deliver a space that competes with the luxuries of remote working.

Explore the possibilities of workplace design.

Read our full Annual Report for 2022.

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Jeremy Reding
Connect with me to start a conversation ➔ Jeremy Reding, Global Workplace Leader


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