As the world shifts and we re-examine how we all live and work together, the fate of the office as we know it is for us to shape. This marks an important moment in time that hasn’t presented itself since people moved from farming to factories to office buildings. The future of the workplace has arrived.
There’s not one area of life that hasn’t been transformed forever by the current state of the planet. We now need to take so many factors into consideration to stay safe and thriving: physical distancing, cleanliness and hygiene are all new realities that employers must face while re-imagining and re-opening their businesses.
In addition to physical safety measures, we also need to examine how we perform our jobs now — how to balance the necessity of more virtual work while creating ample opportunities for creativity and collaboration? How do employees physically distance themselves while staying engaged, intentional and productive?
One small company in Chicago greeted the “new normal” with a renewed sense of vitality and freedom. By emphasizing the life/work balance we all strive to achieve first and foremost in their plans for a new office design, the owners of this progressive firm were way ahead of the curve.
Putting People First
After renting office space in downtown Chicago for years, this successful real estate branding company cemented its bright future by buying a building in a residential neighborhood of the city. This ambitious plan included the owners living above the workspace, cutting down on the cost and hassle of commuting and opening up a range of possibilities.
They then set about creating a place so special that their employees would look forward to coming to work every day. The Inspired Interiors team took this idea and ran with it — designing a floor plan that promotes flexibility and ease of movement, anchoring their ideas with a variety of spaces that employees could utilize throughout a typical day.
Designing a New Future
This appealing approach to adaptability is felt immediately in this new kind of office space. The company entrance opens into coffeeshop-style surroundings complete with cafe tables and busy baristas. No need to stop for a cup on your way to work, now you can grab your morning latte once you arrive at the office and hang around for a while for a friendly, unhurried start to the day.
Employees are no longer tied to a cubicle — they are free to work from dedicated workstations in the spacious renovated garage area of the building, in a private conference room for team meetings or from a soundproof booth to take a client call. To get creative juices flowing and encourage camaraderie, there is a basement rec room area replete with bean bag chairs, a pinball machine and a ping-pong table. A welcoming kitchen allows for family-style meals around a banquette seating area to come together to celebrate wins or just to commune with colleagues.
By putting the quality of life of their employees paramount in their plans, these enterprising business owners have built an office that feels more like a home. And their employees are all the more motivated for their forward-thinking plans and for their generosity of spirit.