“Before, we were content to arrange desks and chairs nicely. Today, the role of the designer is to create an identity and to imagine workspaces that meet both the expressed needs and the underlying new ways of working”, explains Daphné de Bykhovetz, Head of Design of the agency specialized in office design TETRIS.
For the architect, design is not limited to creating an aesthetic and pleasant space, it goes further. For example, the “home-like” spirit has a real impact on professional interactions: “Everything is done with more fluidity. A beautiful design also has an impact on productivity and recruitment, with spaces that make people want to come to work and stay. In the background, design also contributes to maintaining a collective dynamic, generating well-being or making employees proud to belong to the company. In other words, it is a major asset for companies in search of attractiveness.
Re-enchanting the office
Since the health crisis, the challenge for companies is to make their employees want to return to the office. “Telecommuting has its advantages, but human contact and teamwork end up being missing! confirms Daphné de Bykhovetz. Not to mention the fact that ergonomics are not always up to scratch and that it is often not so comfortable to work at home!
Conviviality spaces, put forward, are being redesigned. Their function is growing: creating the right conditions for sharing and exchange is becoming essential. The rules of life as well as the places dedicated to concentration such as the bubbles of folding or the phone boxes also take all their place in the buildings! The comfort of work also depends on the availability of efficient tools: “The flex office works very well as long as certain technical constraints are met: it must be possible to plug in everywhere and have a second screen that works immediately”, underlines Daphné de Bykhovetz.
Plants are a key asset in common living spaces and some companies are looking for visual impact. When you want to integrate living things, it’s best to avoid the pitfall of “green washing”! The typical example is the company that invested in a beautiful plant wall with a logo behind its reception desk, which dried up three months after its installation. It is sometimes better to opt for wallpaper with organic patterns and to do without any form of maintenance.
“The well-being of the employee is at the heart of future trends,” says Daphné de Bykhovetz. Parcel relay, day care center, bakery, gym, free coffee, healthy meal delivery… Everything is there to make employees’ daily lives easier! The new challenge for the designer is to integrate the growing range of services offered by companies to win back their employees. Taking care of one’s teams also means moving towards new eco-responsible practices: “For example, offering filtered water, improving and controlling the temperature in the premises or the quality of the ambient air.
Between acoustics, light and soft colors… down to the last detail
The issue of noise is very recurrent, especially in open spaces such as open spaces or flex offices. “Working on acoustics is a fundamental element. The effect on well-being and concentration is immediate. This necessarily involves the materials, as fabric, carpeting and coverings absorb the most noise,” says Daphne de Bykhovetz.
Another key point: access to natural light is essential for the daily balance of employees. “The idea is to favor workspaces within a six-meter perimeter from the facade, which is what we call the first day. Meeting rooms, phone boxes, bubbles or secondary spaces will be placed further back, in the second day.
Lighting controls complete these arrangements. The light is automatically dimmed or intensified depending on the outside environment, which, in addition to providing comfort for employees, also allows for significant energy savings.
Carpeting, long banned, is making a comeback: it is modernized thanks to a paving system. Transitional tiles, in graded colors, invite you to move from one space to another and create fluidity in movement. “We are far from the outdated blue carpet covering an entire office floor, the flexibility offered by the paving and its acoustic advantage are becoming more and more attractive.
As for decoration, natural materials such as bamboo, sea rush, linen or hemp are to be preferred. The glass partitions are dressed with curtains, valued for their acoustic quality, thus providing a certain modularity while meeting the need for confidentiality.
Colors also play their role. Dark green is gradually giving way to periwinkle blue to be associated with natural colors. Light and natural tones are the order of the day in the workspaces in order to recreate a friendly atmosphere “like at home”.
Progressively, in this quest for comfort, the office continues its transformation towards more meaningful spaces for employees!