“At a time when working in a home office has become the new norm, there is increasing talk that traditional office spaces are a thing of the past. I am sure that offices will not disappear, only the requirements will change and the offices will be furnished differently than before.”Ander Sõõrumaa, OCCO Board Member
Offices have long ceased to be a place intended strictly for work. As people spend a significant part of their day at work, the line between home and office furnishing is becoming increasingly blurred – there is a trend to create offices that feature a cozy environment, where people want to spend time at and feel comfortable. More and more interior furnishing items intended for homes are being ordered for offices.
While in the office, direct communication between colleagues is also relevant. Although it is possible to successfully perform work at a home office, it is not a substitute for direct interpersonal communication, which plays a very important role in shaping the company’s life. This can also be observed in the structure of the office spaces – more and more lounge areas and large kitchens are being created in offices, and meetings are often held not in designated spaces, but in open areas.
There are more office spaces on the market than ever before and they will certainly not remain vacant. Although there has been talk of the disappearance of offices and the relocation of work to the home office since the beginning of the emergency situation, however, this is pure speculation. Two months is too short of a time period for people to radically change their behavior. This will take significantly longer.
When the premises are completed, many companies will move in to newer offices and, in addition, older ones will be fixed up – so the need for offices and their renovation is even more acute than before.
One of the most important developments in the furnishing of offices has been a greater appreciation of privacy. This trend existed before the corona virus emergency and it is now even more relevant. Until recently, open offices were widespread, but more and more opportunities are now being sought to create separate workplaces. This does not mean bringing back cubicles, but rather customers have higher expectations when it comes to creative solutions. There are more modern ways to ensure greater privacy in the office than just building walls between the workplaces. For example, movable walls and soundproof partitions, where people can make phone calls in privacy can be utilized.
As a lot of meetings have been replaced with videoconferencing, more and more meeting rooms are being redesigned. Noise pollution in the office is extremely distracting, interfering with your or other people’s work. Before the emergency situation, people didn’t pay so much attention to this, because they had not encountered this problem before – in fact, acoustics is one of the most important things when designing an office, which should be taken into account at the outset. Noise is one of the most annoying factors for employees at the workplace. It is very important for them to be able to focus on the work and concentrate on the task in silence – this is directly reflected in the work results.
Often, office spaces are not effectively utilized and thus resources are wasted to an unreasonable degree. In order to avoid wasting space and making decisions that are as cost-effective as possible, thorough in-house preliminary work must be carried out before designing new offices. The investment in new office spaces starts with the employees themselves – they should be queried as to which spaces are used the most, which ones are in short supply and which ones are vacant.
Before moving in, it would be wise to map out and monitor over about a year’s period of time the specific needs for the company’s spaces based on the daily behavior of the employees. After that, the layout of the rooms can be thought out according to the needs. The correct office design helps to improve the working environment, and accordingly the work results. The company’s culture, managers and colleagues also play an important role – the right furnishings support the business culture.
Demand for ergonomic tables has increased significantly in the last few years. It is widely believed that electrically adjustable tables are an expensive luxury item, but this is no longer the case. In the Netherlands, for example, it is by law that an employee sitting at a desk for at least two hours a day must have an adjustable table. We are convinced that at the legal level, Estonia will soon reach a similar level.
Ergonomic chairs also have a place in the office, however, people’s wishes vary significantly with regard to them. What works for one person can be extremely inconvenient for another. We have used the opportunity to present 5-6 chairs for employees to try out before ordering. As office workers spend a significant part of their day sitting, it is extremely important that people’s health comes first when choosing a desk and a chair.
When furnishing an office, the aim should not be to make it extravagant, rather the needs of the company should take precedence. Our team has found solutions for customers with different budgets and wishes. If the budget is smaller, it does not mean that the office will be furnished inadequately, solutions can also be created using simpler items. However, as offices will not disappear and people will continue to work there, interior design solutions should be as well thought out as possible – as such, when designing an office, you should initially invest time instead of large sums to map the specific needs of your company. This ensures that the end result satisfies the needs of all employees and that the home office option is used only when necessary.
If you would like more information about our products or services, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you!