The employee experience. It’s becoming a hot topic these days.
In recent years, there’s been a seismic shift in employment dynamic from an employer’s market to an employee’s market. That is to say, the employee is starting to dictate their working experience more so than their employers do.
What this means for businesses is a need to adopt new approaches to maintaining employee satisfaction and output. And as companies work to adapt to the changing employment climate, stimulating and engaging office design are presenting themselves as a key tool in doing so.
Enter the “resi-mercial” design movement.
What is Resi-mercial Design?
As the word itself implies, resi-mercial design is, at its core, the fusion of residential and commercial interiors in office design. The trend celebrates commercial quality, residential-inspired design features, and comforts over the standardized and sterile feel of typical corporate design and décor.
Where Did the Resi-mercial Design Movement Come From?
For many employees in today’s workforce, technology and job demands are causing the lines between work and home to blur.
Resi-mercial design is, in large part, a byproduct of businesses understanding that fact and reacting to a new generation of employees who bring with them a diverse range of experiences, values, preferences and habits.
Businesses are beginning to understand the value of facilitating a workspace where employees are able to relax and collaborate freely as a way to stimulate creativity and maximize output.
The resi-mercial design movement stemmed from the trend of dedicating more square footage to amenity and common spaces. In the early stages, it was mostly big corporations who had caught on to the fact that creating spaces within the workplace that shifted the focus away from work actually attracted and retained great employees. Today, it’s becoming a business best practice to provide in-office amenities that act as a break from the workday and informal areas for relaxation and collaboration.
Resi-mercial design builds on this idea to create workspaces that align more closely to a hospitality aesthetic and residential comfort to drive employee retention and wellbeing, in turn encouraging better performance.
While resi-mercial design is not necessarily news to many employers and designers, the movement has gained steam in recent years.
Why is Resi-mercial Design Gaining Momentum?
Today’s employees seek collaborative spaces, a variety of workspace options and the ability to move freely.
The idea behind resi-mercial design – and the reason it’s important to employers – is that creating a sense of home in the office will encourage employees to continue working from the office in a time when technology has allowed many to go mobile and seek unique workspaces.
Under that pretense, many employees in today’s largely millennial job market wonder why they should sit at their desk all day if they don’t technically have to – they know that they could in many cases do their jobs from almost anywhere with internet access. Resi-mercial design caters to the value of autonomy while crafting an environment in which employees not only want to be in, but that they want to work in.
How Can Resi-mercial Design Be Incorporated?
True resi-mercial design is an intricate and thoughtful process that extends beyond simply adding cushions and allowing employees to have plants on their desks. While smaller steps never hurt, the fact is that for employees feel comfortable and inspired, they need to feel that they’re in a space that supports their needs and improves their overall well-being.
The key for a business to successfully implement resi-mercial design is based in a need to truly understand how to make the best use of its space – from architectural layout to lighting, furniture, color schemes and flooring, to name just a few factors.
To create a truly stimulating resi-mercial space, its focus should begin with four main components:
- Ambiance: It’s a fine art to create a great “feel” in an office – but it’s crucial. It requires thoughtfully planned lighting and decorative features, the right temperature and a carefully managed noise level. Even details like varied colors and textures, such as exposed brick from a building’s original foundation, can help make a space feel warm and inviting.
- Variability: The catch twenty-two with creating a great ambiance is that it’s subjective. Resi-mercial spaces should be designed with variability in mind; there should be a variety of areas to suit every style of work – and socialization.
- Collaboration: Resi-mercial design puts a strong focus on collaboration by designing a space that facilitates movement and interconnection between employees.
While the feel of a residence – an in-office living room with a couch, coffee table and rug or a rec room with bean bag chairs and a ping-pong table – are paramount in resi-mercial design, residential furniture generally isn’t designed for the high levels of traffic and usage that office furniture will incur. Luckily, furniture manufacturers have caught on to the trend and have begun designing resi-mercial furniture that carries the residential feel with industrial durability.
To imagine resi-mercial design at work, picture, for example, an energetic, free-standing lounge that allows employees to relax and sip coffee while collaborating on a project. Imagine a space that combines function and character, one that is thoughtfully designed to break down hierarchies and create healthy opportunities for everyone.
For the right business at the right time, it could be the tool that takes its employee experience to the next level.