Home office (5)

Domestication is becoming a common trend when it comes to the design of office space, with many using it to help increase productivity and contentment within the workplace.

Instead of the stark Scandinavian-style of office furniture which has been popular over the recent years, soft furnishings, contrasting colours, patterns and real wood are providing workers with a ‘homey’ office setting to work in.

Is this trend due to the continual blurring of lines between work and home life? Or is this a clever way of psychologically making people feel more at home at work, with breakout zones and a relaxed atmosphere used as the pull to entice remote workers back to the office?

Productivity is key to the success of any workforce and often the office environment can contribute to or detract from this greatly, so domestication is helping workers feel more at home by providing more comfortable surroundings. The domestication of the workplace has largely been brought in by the dotcom era, with the likes of Google being one of the first to adopt residential furnishings into the office environment. This shift has ultimately helped bring creativity and comfort into office design, making for a more relatable environment and a ‘home away from home’.

Whilst the trend offers employees a more eclectic, comfortable space, it also works as a tool for employee recruitment and retention. By customising an office environment to appeal to every employee, comfortable meeting rooms, breakout spaces and alternative spaces to work from become a desired commodity. By domesticating the workplace and creating a comfortable, dynamic environment, companies are offering employees spaces which suit their needs and enticing them back into the office where collaboration and teamwork can flourish.

This trend is not only impacting on businesses in terms of their office furniture needs, but also on those who are selling it. Previously, companies sourced office furniture from a handful of manufacturers where options were limited. Comfort and unique designs simply weren’t part of the decision process when choosing office furniture. Now, due to the growing domestication trend, manufacturers are having to provide a more eclectic mix of furniture designs.

Whilst the trend of domestication is certainly driving a new wave of office design, the fact that it is driving workers back to the office by providing a comfortable and creative environment for them to work in is surely the end goal for companies. With the majority of workers spending at least five days a week in the office, making it feel like home could be very beneficial – after all, home is where the heart is.

By Paula Marshall, head of furniture category sales at Office Depot