To make the workplace commute-worthy, offer a variety of spaces to support and inspire your employees
With organizations bringing people back to the office, they are realizing that many employees aren’t yet willing to give up the comforts of home for a long commute back to an office that no longer meets their needs. Companies risk mass resignations when mandating working from the office policies, so rather than forcing employees back to their desks, offering an improved office experience that provides more will give employees a reason to hop into their cars in the morning and brave that morning traffic. If a workplace can provide employees with an improved work experience than they would get working from home, they are more likely to choose the office as their primary place of work.
There are many unconventional, unique workplace solutions that may encourage and inspire employees back to the office. Here are our team’s top six commute-worthy solutions for the workplace.
The Grid Collection by Established & Sons
Offering a variety of spaces for employees to get any type of work done is a good first step when considering how to bring workers back to the office. Part sofa, part lounge, part presentation space, the multi-functional Grid product family by Established & Sons is a thoughtful response to changes in how we live and work. A colorful room-within-a-room, the raw shell of the Grid frame provides a base for modular meeting room seating, shelves, tables and screens, which can be integrated in different ways to create a playful and multi-functional environment for informal meetings, presentations or simply hanging out. A variety of privacy options offers employees focus space to get heads-down work done, while integrated external shelves can provide a casual workspace for collaboration. Tall side panels create private spaces while low side panels offer less visual division, both options are available in either a larch-wood veneer, covered with an acoustic upholstery or as a metal grid that encourages communication between the inside and outside of the module. With integrated power options, Grid is a functional lounge space a step above the living room sofa.
Flex Personal Spaces by Steelcase
Even before the pandemic, people complained the open plan office was noisy and distracting and it wasn’t uncommon to hear people say they were going home to work because they could not find a place to concentrate in the office. Fast forward to 2022, and the problem has only worsened.
The way people work has significantly changed as video meetings have become a norm and people working in the office have flooded to enclosed spaces so they can avoid disturbing others and have the acoustic and visual privacy to stay focused.
Steelcase created Flex Personal Spaces to address this need. A new approach to the workspace, Steelcase Flex Personal Spaces gives people a heightened level of privacy, control and comfort in the hybrid workplace. The system is easily adaptable by the user, allowing individuals to achieve the level of privacy they need – whether it’s for video calls or sustained heads-down focus time. The foundation of Personal Spaces are two key elements – desks and privacy wraps – that support over a dozen possible configurations. Tufted privacy wraps with soft, curved surfaces combine with unique desk shapes to create settings that support a spectrum of privacy, flexibility and space planning.
Offering a way for people to achieve the visual and acoustical privacy levels they enjoy from at-home work, employees can easily shift between individual and teamwork. Personal Spaces responds to the individual’s needs to give them more flexibility and control over their work experience – all while providing a comfortable place to work.
Karman Chair by Steelcase
One of the main complaints by people working at home for long periods of time was the quality of their chair. Many of us made do with working at the kitchen table for months on end, while missing the ergonomic set up of our workplace.
Offering a comfortable and ergonomic task chair for employees is perhaps the most important thing a workplace can provide. As the world spent countless hours on video calls throughout the pandemic, sitting in chairs of various quality, the Steelcase Design Studio already recognized it was time to create the next generation of ergonomic chairs.
The Karman Chair goes beyond traditional mesh chairs – its 21st century design and engineering naturally responds to a body’s movement and weight, providing unparalleled comfort. It is designed to be more comfortable than leading mesh chairs, putting less pressure on your seat and back. Its one-of-a-kind patented hybrid seat that combines an all-new performance textile with integrated cushioning. Instead of a rigid frame that’s used in most mesh chairs, the team innovated a systemic design approach in which the textile is suspended from an ultra-light frame that flexes, so it eliminates painful pressure points and puts less pressure on people’s backs and seats. After sitting in a Karman chair, you won’t go back to the kitchen table.
Border by Orangebox
It’s obvious that the thing we missed the most during the great working-from-home experience was collaborating and socializing with our team members. With many companies choosing to downsize office space post-pandemic, collaboration and lounge areas may be minimized.
Border from Orangebox sets to solve the problem of maximizing space, no matter what size. This innovative design enables small collaboration areas to be created easily, anywhere. Perfect for those ‘in-between’ spaces that often sit unused, Border helps maximize real estate in an age where it’s at a premium.
As its name suggests, Border provides a neat and intelligent way of dividing up spaces. Its simplicity and precise modularity ensures its continuous success in diverse spaces in both café areas and within varied open plan spaces. Border’s table is positioned at both work and bar height, and includes the option of a power/data module within the structure to allow for it to become an effective work area. If your team is forever looking for a quick touch down space for collaboration, Border is the perfect solution.
Flex Perch Stool by Steelcase
Working remotely causes us to be more intentional with our communication – we must set up video calls if we want to collaborate with co-workers, and we lose the serendipitous interactions that come from being together in person gathered around the water cooler. To encourage more quick collaboration and brainstorming sessions in the office that foster creativity and innovation, look to solutions like the Flex Perch Stool by Steelcase. Its deceptively simple design offers a quick place to sit – while staying fully engaged in mind, body and collaboration. When it isn’t busy working the room, Steelcase Flex Perch saves space in style. Nest any number of these stools in a compact row, and fan them out across the room right when people want them for a quick think or sharing session. Super lightweight, with glides that work on hard floors and carpet, Steelcase Flex Perch transforms a space to suit the team’s needs in seconds.
And, the best part of the Perch Stool is it was designed with sustainability at the forefront. Through a partnership with BASF, Steelcase Flex Perch is the first furniture product that reduces the use of fossil resources through CCycling™.This innovation in sustainability transforms used electronics once impossible to recycle into like-new raw material needed for high-quality products – reducing waste and reliance on fossil resources associated with carbon emissions. Made for circularity, Steelcase Flex Perch contributes to a system that recycles more effectively and productively for future applications.
Hosu by Coalesse
Providing employees with the comforts of home in the workplace has never been more important. Offering a solution for employees to relax and refocus will help with overall productivity and happiness. The Coalesse Hosu Lounge Seating was built to accommodate the world of mobile work and encourage spreading out in comfort. This unique and comfortable work lounge was designed with personal space in mind to help you relax, focus, and accomplish more. Offered as a one- or two-seater, the Hosu lounge is also convertible with a durable footbed for ultimate comfort.
Hosu works best in private focus spaces, like enclaves, to offer employees spaces for rejuvenation, ensuring they are at their best. Creativity requires balancing active group work with individual think time. Providing individual focus spaces allows people to generate their own ideas without interruption, or to spend time absorbing information they just received in a collaboration session. Relaxed postures, like what the Hosu can provide, support diffused attention and allow the brain to wander, which can lead to ‘eureka!’ insights. Users can quickly switch between typing, digital ink and touch on their personal device. Offering a side table and power options further allows for more functionality in the space, ensuring you’ll never have to choose between productivity and comfort in the office.
A well-designed space that earns the commute supports all the different ways we work and brings people and technology together to boost productivity, enhance wellbeing and build trust through face-to-face interactions. As organizations adapt to the changes they face while working through this pandemic, we have an opportunity to bring people together at a time they most need human connections and to help businesses move forward.