The Evolving Work Culture
Office spaces re-invent themselves periodically. Each company defines newer goals and objectives for its business and the space it operates from, depending on the changing times, requirements, budgets, and technologies.
The types of spaces being marketed today are driven by three key factors: creativity, flexibility, and technology. Decision makers are investing and emphasizing on the modification of their facilities to support and encourage the focus, team work, and well-being of its employees.
The increasing number of start-ups and the rising real estate costs fueled the concept of co-working spaces. Their design focuses around flexible work-spaces with a basic internet, telephone, and power infrastructure, and common spaces such as a reception, conference room, and kitchens.
The concepts of SOHO (Small Offices/Home Offices) are also quite popular with business that do not require large setups, or are ancillaries to the parent company. The size of these spaces can be anything from a wall in a room, to several rooms in the house. The design is simplistic and efficient, with form following the function.
Changing lifestyles, mobile technology, and the dynamic youth are paving the way for this new work-life culture.
KEY DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
#1: Flexible Work Spaces
The anti-thesis of rigid workstations, the flexible work-spaces can be achieved simply by non-assigned seating, or with the use of re-configurable furniture and furnishings. Furniture pieces such as height adjustable tables for standing meetings aid the design of these flexible spaces.
Axis Bank, New Delhi
#2: Interactive Collaborations
Community tables and common spaces encourage collaboration: be it within a team, an organization, or the local coffee shop. Private booths, discussion pods, and other innovative concepts are increasingly popular for one-on-one collaboration. Such spaces help strengthen connections with colleagues as well as accomplish the task at hand. To make either of these spaces functional, they need to be ‘plug-and-play’ ready. These spaces can easily convert into break rooms.
Tricon Energy, Mumbai
#3: Private Zones
While several have denounced the use of drywall and cabins in their work-space, there is a need for personal spaces. The use of these spaces varies from private closed-door senior executive meetings to video conference calls with business partners, or employees who require some relief from noise levels and easy interruptions. As designers we need to cater to those latent requirements, either by incorporating traditional cabins and conference rooms, or by the use of materials and technology to form solidarity cocoons.
Axis Bank, Bangalore
#4: The Outdoors
The importance of natural lighting in any space is key. Incorporating open spaces into the layout of an office space is proven to be highly effective and productive. However, given the space constraint in several metropolitan cities it is not also feasible. Though not a solution, the use of planters, reclaimed wood, exposed bricks, and living walls stimulates that environment. Adding the elements of the outside via fabrics, artworks, and artifacts also acts as a visual relief. Minimalist designs with exposed services also create a raw and earthy feel to the space.
Crescent Group, Mumbai
#5: Branding via Design
Branding and the market perception of the brand is crucial to today’s corporate. The design of the office space itself can be used to enforce and strengthen the company brand and what its values stand for. The use of logos, corporate colors, and vision are few of the elements that help build a cohesive interior language that helps clients and customers better comprehend the nature and attitude of the company.
Axis Bank, New Delhi
#6: Colors & Textures
Colors and textures largely influence a space; they can boost happiness, creativity, and productivity. Shades influenced by nature such as clay and beige have a calming effect, while bold contrasts and opposites create dynamism. It is ideal to experiment with a handful of colors and hues without over-powering the space. Even the most well executed spaces need spots for the eye to rest.
Axis Bank, Bangalore
**Excerpts from Guest Column by Reza Kabul featured in Home & Design Trends - Commercial Design Special (Vol 4 No 2)