[The author of this article is Mr. Sudeep Kolte, VP Sales & Marketing, Saint Gobain India Pvt. Ltd. –
Driven by changing workforce behavioural patterns, working environment has evolved tremendously. This is pretty evident with changing work policies, nature of work, workplace structure and interestingly, workspace designs. This presents a huge challenge for architects and designers to break the monotony without dismantling the company’s ethos.
Often, business leaders fail to understand the reciprocal relationship between workplace culture and office design. For instance, people spend one-third of their day at their workplaces. Hence, cubicles are replaced with more modern and interactive workspaces. The changing workspaces instigated by dynamic workforces and technological advancements is catalysing innovation, sustainability, collaboration, transparency, learning and engagement in an organization.
With the benefit of advancements in building solutions, adapting to the changing workplace landscape is not anymore an elusive task. For example; drywalls have brought in the component of flexibility in traditional spaces. Additionally, it is established that drywalls are ecological in nature, and have higher safety aspect compared to a masonry wall. Hence, it indeed has a significant role to bring in the overall well-being and productivity. So be it ergonomics that is redefining the workplace interior culture or sustainability that is slowly gathering attention; the landscape of Indian offices is maturing.
Let’s look into these design ideas that are changing the paradigm of office interior.
The Future lies in hybrid offices!
Spontaneous collaboration was exactly what open office culture earmarked. However, now it is clouded with doubts whether it actually fosters collaboration, or rather has become a hindrance in employee productivity. The solution lies in hybrid offices that beautifully blends the culture of next-gen workspaces with temporary cubicles, sound-proof rooms, communal areas and etc. Such office designs integrate a wide range of spaces and provides employees with the much needed flexibility that makes it more desirable. Now with innovation in building materials, creating such offices is not a distant dream. A good illustration of this would be drywall, wallboard or plasterboard that promotes sound control, versatility as well as scope for customization as per needs. Hence, it gives room for more collaborative efforts and brings in much more efficiency on the floor.
Sustainable designs are in vogue
Asian countries like Singapore, China, Beijing and Sydney are ranked the highest in green office spaces complying with building construction codes and encouraging green building development. With an increasing awareness about sustainable development, ecological architecture has witnessed an immense push from demand point of view.
Changing human behaviour states that millennial and gen z will be the first generation to consider sustainable products in their daily lifestyle. Also, an observation stated that the current generation is considered to be an indoor generation, mostly surrounded by lack of vegetation and connection with the nature. Clearly, office designs will have to fill the gap to incorporate green designs in order to attract and engage employees, considering their physical well-being. As a result, living walls and biophilic designs are becoming prominent in contemporary office spaces. Similarly, besides the thought of bringing the outside inside with innovative green designs, sustainability has also progressed towards materials that support eco-friendly designs. The market today is well sufficient with alternative building solution however employing the same is a matter of choice. For example, replacing standard bulbs with LEDs for electricity conservation, drywalls with its multifaceted properties adds to the flexibility, acoustics, easy installation and of course the recyclable features make it apt for green spaces.
How healthy is your office?
Undoubtedly, healthy workers tend to be more productive and promote a much positive environment. Long working hours and inadequate work-life balance are proving to be a huge hindrance for employee wellness. Consequently, office designs will play a huge role to coax people in opting a much healthier lifestyle. Many offices have adopted staircases at various junctions where employees can move around. Installing sit-stand desks to improve productivity and many other ergonomic considerations have supported the concept of creating a healthy workplace. Similarly, recuperative spaces such as meditation rooms, power nap room or even electronic-free room can provide employees with the much needed space they seek to clear their head.
Blend of aesthetics and comfort
A quirky fresh interior plays a significant role in motivating employees and spurring creativity. Multi-comfort along with aesthetics is given due attention as it increases employee engagement. Breakout areas are essential as they break the monotony in the workstyle. Breakout areas can include cafeterias, recreational facilities like indoor games, a lounge area for informal meetings to bring a change in the mundane desk – chair surrounding. For example, the modern day office designs like Google and Amazon who emphasize on investing in such spaces which include fun, quirky themes and interesting furniture. Visual, space and acoustical comforts, these factors play a colossal role in creating a harmonious ambience for an office space. The use of right construction materials to provide seamless work life, the right choice of colours etc. should be on the checklist while deciding office interiors. Floorplans that include soundproof kiosks created with insulated plasterboards resembling the iconic London’s telephone booths add to the aesthetics and quirky element in offices.
The stated wave of change in office designs is led by many reasons; new gen professionals, advanced technologies or greater insight into the impact of such designs. As employees change their way of functioning, workspaces will have to cater to this change in order to break stagnancy and build a much efficient workforce.