One of the workplace trends that has come into its own this year is a desire among office workers for work to feel less like work—or more precisely, for the work environment to feel less like an office and more like a home.
People today find the drab, uniform office spaces of past decades dull and lifeless—an “uninspiring sea of sameness.”
While those utilitarian spaces may have been in sync with the business philosophy of the time—with its focus on efficiency—today’s office workers are looking for comfortable spaces that appeal to our creativity and individuality as human beings.
Looking for home
People want work environments that are relaxed, personal and more conducive to imagination and creative collaboration.
It only makes sense that we would feel more like ourselves, more at ease, more open to inspiration in a more homelike environment.
Hence the abundance of warm colors, interesting textures, soft surfaces and moveable pieces that designers are introducing in the workplace—all the furniture that looks more residential, that says “settle in and stay awhile.”
The phrase everyone seems to have adopted to describe this phenomenon of letting work feel less like work and more like home is “the blurring of the lines.” Here’s an Interior Design article that mentions a fabric introduction as “blurring the contract-residential divide.” And here’s an Azure story featuring a unique product that “blurred the boundaries of a traditional workspace.”
We’ve used the phrase too, including in this September 27 blog post, which notes how employers are adjusting to “the increasingly blurred lines between work and home life.”
The point is clear: The movement to bring residential influences into the workplace is real, and it’s making for more hospitable, flexible, people-friendly spaces across the office landscape.
Scroll down for a few examples of this trend, and let us know how it’s showing up in your work.