The Impact of Remote Work on Corporate Interiors

In an effort to attract and retain tenants and talent alike, corporate interiors have been looking a bit closer to home for inspiration. “Resimercial” design is all about mixing residential and commercial elements to create inviting, relaxing and comfortable spaces that inspire creativity, increase productivity, and improve workflow. Think organized yet flexible workspaces, natural light, plants, and casual décor like throw pillows and area rugs.

However, as I write this article, the Covid-19 pandemic has all non-essential workers on the island working from home. Words like “unprecedented” and “novel” seem to pop up in every conversation and all of this uncertainty has me thinking about what these changes mean for our industry. What we are living through right now will truly change so much about design and how we create and experience spaces. I believe we will see a shift towards what I am calling a “reverse resimercial” trend — the need to translate a more corporate vibe into our own work from home — or, “WFH” — environments.

Throughout Long Island and in various parts of the country people have been tasked with carving out a workspace for themselves — if not multiple members of their family — within their own homes on very short notice. To create a space that fosters the same kind of inspiration while also meeting the needs of your company’s brand and work culture will require some finesse.

During WFH virtual meetings, people could be in their beds, on the floor, in the backyard, in various types and stages of dress (yikes!), and dealing with other variables in those environments. We’ve all seen the videos of the work from home meeting disasters which, while entertaining, will only be tolerated for so long. Going forward, companies will need to figure out how they would like to represent themselves in this brave new WFH world.

On a positive note, this pandemic has surely proven how productive team members can be from home. Technology is so advanced and there are a variety of wonderful apps and programs for teams to utilize — from project management software, to chat options, and integrated time tracking. Teams are being forced to rethink everything as systems, communication, and methods of collaboration are all made infinitely easier and more challenging by the fact that we literally have 24/7 connectivity at our fingertips.

As companies begin to reevaluate their policies on working remotely, what will this mean for commercial office space? Will the cost savings outweigh the benefits of in-person interactions? How will brands be able resonate with clients in this new setting?

Yes, brick and mortar offices will always be a necessity, but I believe that these spaces will be forced to evolve. I think we will see the re-appropriation of these spaces into fully branded environments with flexible floor plans, multi-purpose furnishings, and technologically advanced amenities. These environments will promote an exciting work-culture driven by collaboration, team building, a positive client experience and interactive events. Individual work, I believe, will happen at home. This flexibility will allow companies to maintain an agile workforce and retain team members long term.

For now, here are some easy-to-implement ideas to help your business as we transition to a WFH model:

#1 Maintaining Your Brand

Did you know that many video conferencing platforms allow you to upload a virtual background? Having a branded background customized with your company logo and other relevant information looks professional and quiets the visual “noise” that often comes with working from home. Smaller details like supplying your team with branded mugs to drink from during their video calls can further enhance your brand.

#2 Maintaining Your Work-Culture

Host virtual morning meetings to give your team the chance to regroup and discuss upcoming deadlines and deliverables. Organize synchronized team breaks for stretching or walking meetings to keep the blood flowing. Virtual happy hours can be a fun way to keep the camaraderie going and morale high!

#3 Maintaining Productivity

Optimize productivity by establishing company guidelines and offering tips customized for team members that are working from home. Set clear deliverables and time tracking practices to avoid confusion. When possible, observe your standard to avoid burnout and let your team know that you respect their boundaries and value their time.

From a corporate standpoint, there are still countless logistics to sort out and the learning curve will be steep. That being said, I’m excited to see what other innovations and businesses are born out necessity throughout all of this. In the meantime, working from home is here to stay, so make sure to discuss the challenges that come with it with your team and explore how to support your company’s brand while elevating the environments each member is working with. Who knows, maybe the “reverse resimercial” mindset will have us reevaluating our spaces when we all return to the office.


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