The Covid-19 pandemic and working from home phenomenon marked some of the biggest changes to the workplace ever, pushing employees in every sector towards remote work during global lockdowns. Nearly three years later (and with lockdowns long gone), WFH is here to stay as organisations become more flexible in their approach.
The problem with remote working
For many organisations, the success of remote working has inadvertently created a big issue. Getting employees back to the office to share ideas, discuss strategy, collaborate, and socialise has become more difficult. This has impacted productivity and company culture, causing tension between companies and employees.
Even the world’s biggest companies have been affected by return-to-office uncertainty — tech giant Apple mandated that employees must work at least three days a week in its headquarters in a bid to restore “in-person collaboration”.
The key to bringing employees back
While some companies have mandated that workers come back to the office and others, such as Tesla have banned WFH due to productivity concerns, there’s a subtler way to encourage workers back to their desks — through workplace interior design.
With the right design touches and thoughtful furniture choices, you can entice employees to the office by creating a warm, friendly, and inviting environment that fosters connection. Hybrid is the future, so you’ll need to adapt and earn your employees’ commutes.
What employees want
Employees want connection and a community in the workplace — something they can’t get at home. According to The Microsoft Work Trend Index, a US study, social time with other workers was the top factor that would motivate employees back to the office.
The American survey found that 85% of employees would be motivated to go into the office to rebuild team bonds, and 84% would go to the office more frequently if they knew their “work friends” were there.
A further study from Steelcase further underlines what employees want from hybrid workspaces. According to the report, people want stimulation and inspiration from their offices, and the opportunity to connect with and learn from each other.
- It found that 64% of people want spaces for hybrid collaboration — dedicated zones for video calls. A further 49% wanted collaboration spaces for in-office meetings.
- Employees also want privacy. 61% of respondents wanted somewhere to focus on their work without interruptions. In other words, a place free from the noise distractions they might experience at home, like noisy children and pets.
- In keeping with the spirit of the hybrid workspace, 57% of people said they wanted the ability to reserve a desk or work zone.
- Just over half of participants said they wanted flexible furniture, in keeping with their home environment, and the ability to move and adapt different furniture at will.
Organisations will need to deliver all of these aspects to keep staff happy.
Research and participation
Don’t embark on an office redesign without knowing exactly what your people want. Conducting surveys and assessments with employees is key.
According to the Steelcase study, 94% of companies plan to do some ‘piloting’ with staff before they redesign a hybrid office.
Companies can also make the workplace more attractive by hosting events. A useful or inspiring office event can reboot your office and bring it back to life. Show off the working environment, and rebuild that company culture lost to the early years of the pandemic.
All across the world, organisations have turned to interior design to make their offices more homely and inviting. Investing in new interior design concepts is key to enticing employees back.
Companies including Norwegian co-working space provider Technopolis gauged the mood of workers before embarking on its redesigns. After mapping employees’ needs with a survey, the group selected the right furniture to build the right kind of atmosphere.
The Norwegian group adopted a new concept, Office Zones, tailored zones in office spaces based on the needs of different people. The zones ranged from social seating areas to rooms for virtual meetings.
In an effort to make their offices more homely, Technopolis adopted a “cosy business” theme, using timeless and natural designs to convey a home-like feel.
Elegant functionality was another key approach, building a space that would work for interactions, team building, social gathering and networking, as well as day-to-day tasks.
Technopolis’s in-house architecture team recognised that people are innately social, and need spaces to have casual conversations and interactions. The company also realised that people have similar needs at work and require various types of workspaces to fuel their productivity.
Technopolis office building interior, Nova. Credit: Technopolis.
Choosing the right furniture
So, picking the right furniture is essential as you reinvent your office to make it more engaging and exciting. Buro Seating offers a range of ergonomic, stylish and functional furniture to entice staff out of their home offices.
Staff will need something comfortable and ergonomic to help them be their best. They’ll also need flexible furniture that can be reconfigured for different working styles, and a range of furniture to suit quiet zones, social areas, and video conferencing rooms — not forgetting the humble desk and chair.
Buro offers a wide range of furniture to suit every hybrid workspace.
The Buro Peekabo Stool is great for breakout spaces, socialising spots, and anywhere you’ll host casual team meetings. Strong and stable, it will fit any meeting space, and with a minimalist contemporary design, it will look the part in any hybrid workspace.
With award-winning design, the Peekaboo is lightweight, easy to move, and made from durable plastic, It’s also stackable for easy storage — ideal flexible furniture.
Buro’s Konfurb Sense is a classic office chair suited to every office environment. It is ergonomic and sustainable and made from 100% recycled plastic, with sleek lines that encase a flexible, dual-sided lumbar support. The synchro mech technology make this the perfect ergonomic office chair for shared spaces, adjusting to everybody’s unique needs.
Now you have plenty of inspiration to transform your office into an enticing, inviting workspace that draws people into the office by encouraging connection. Check out our product range to get more ideas flowing as you design your very own hybrid workspace.