Focusing on the health and well-being of staff has been at the forefront of office design trends in the last decade. With the changing dynamics of the workplace resulting from the younger ‘Millennial’ generation entering the workforce, improving the office environment is a trend that continues to be big news. A consequence of this change in workforce dynamic is that the so-called social space has risen in importance to become one of the most key parts of the workplace.
The office is where employees spend the majority of their time, and as such, the constant expectation of work can negatively affect staff, lowering their mood and eventually, productivity. This is why forward-thinking businesses have started to create social spaces in the workplace. Social spaces include features like breakout spaces, kitchens and eating areas, informal meeting rooms and welcome/reception areas.
The social space is now an expected feature of an office, particularly in larger workplaces. Social spaces are being designed to offer a relaxed, comfortable and inspiring place for connecting with colleagues and holding informal meetings. A social space also provides somewhere for staff to escape to rejuvenate, have a change of scenery and a chance to recharge batteries after focused or concentrated work.
Research in recent years has shown that productivity can be raised by encouraging staff to take time out and away from their desks. It’s been proven that taking breaks can have a positive impact on an employee’s overall productivity. A social space enables and encourages employees to relax and reset. By providing staff with unique areas to rest in comfortable surroundings will help to encourage breaks and in hand improve their overall productivity.
A change in scenery can also help with sparking new creative ideas. Social spaces are ideal for escaping a busy office when you need time to think clearly or alternatively they can be used for collaborating and bouncing ideas between colleagues. Each office will differ in terms of their requirements but having access to a social space will benefit vast majority of workspaces.
The best social spaces will be incredibly flexible and will be multi-purpose. A social space can serve as an eating area, informal meeting space, a hot-desk facility and a space for training, presentations and parties.
An inspiring social area will encourage colleagues to spend more time together. Whether it is in informal meetings or having lunch together rather than at a desk, the potential for a well-designed social space to improve staff morale is a very real factor that companies should be aware of.
Considering the design of the space itself, successful social spaces are designed to look less like the surrounding office, and that is key to providing staff with a place that they can relax in, collaborate in and socialise in.
What you want to achieve is a work-free zone that will really add to an employees’ experience and happiness at work. Increasingly, social space designs look more like household interior design, with carpets, sofas and cosy lighting. This form of office design that mimics the feel of home has become so popular in recent years that it has its own industry buzzword - ‘Resimercial Design’. The term itself comes from combining the words ‘residential’ and ‘commercial’ denoting the amalgamation of home comforts and functional office design.
So just as work has entered home, home comforts are increasingly coming to the office. Resimercial design creates comfortable social spaces that are just as perfect for a quick meeting, as they are for a coffee and a chat.
Throughout the last few years, we have certainly noticed that the need for a ‘social space’ is fast becoming a major requirement for most office design projects. Creating a social space doesn’t need to involve a total overhaul of a workplace. If you are looking for suggestions on how social spaces can be made to fit in with the current office interiors or if you want a completely new design for your office including social areas, we can help.
Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and we would be happy to give you more information on how we can help you make the most of your social spaces.back to blog.