19 Jan The future of commercial spaces
Who worked from home last year? Yup, even I’ve got my hand up! Despite my wife’s best efforts to distract me with jobs around the house, and a spa encouraging me to clock off around, oh, midday(!), I jumped between work-from-home and work-from-office.
It was a strange year for retail and commercial alike. Changes and market pressures are the motivation we need to upskill, to innovate and to explore new territories. It also helps us keep sharp and on our toes. Standing here, the future of commercial spaces doesn’t look alien to what we know now. If anything, we’re just another step ahead of where we thought we’d be. That’s why we’ve been so excited about the re-calibration and reimagining of commercial spaces, and how they continue to evolve and respond to the future.
Flexible spaces & office-hopping
The last year’s been one with a lot of hotdesking and back-and-forth for me and for a lot of you out there too, I know. We’ve come to expect a different work and commercial landscape – one that accommodates more agile work habits.
I reckon that more flexibility and versatility with our spaces is going to be a big feature of the future of commercial retail, especially as hours drift beyond the classic 9-5 Monday to Friday. We’ve seen some exciting ideas from businesses re-thinking how they’re using their spaces, with a view to flexibility that keeps the space dynamic and agile.
Likewise we’ve seen a big uptake in hotdesking – the work station that anyone can claim – and see that becoming a part of a lot of offices. But the pleasure of coming into the office is not just collaborating with the team, but also the chance to be in a space that’s proudly and uniquely yours. What we’re saying is that the character and charm of a well fit-out office, with its private and public spaces, will be sticking around for a long time yet!
Coffee perks & agile spaces
Last year kicked into action the communal space in the office environment. Not totally open-plan, no privacy, “bullpen” style spaces – they’ve apparently proven a backwards step in productivity. What we’ll be looking at are easy-access, distinctive workplaces.
When staffers do come in, it’s for meetings and catch-ups as well as deskwork, so the meeting room and gathering space are prime. The fit-outs we’re working on are starting to focus on things like feature lighting and pendants, bright colours and seamless tech integration that make it a real pleasure to be back – and give you something to show off on your next video conference!
For some, it’s couch-and-coffee-table gatherings, soft features, and spaces that make the office feel homely and professional; others are after customisable set-ups including moveable walls that give a huge flexibility to what we do with the four walls around us. These are elements easily incorporated into a fit-out or freshen-up – just have a chat with your designer fit-out specialist and talk about all the ways you’d like to use your commercial space. The rest is easy!
Let the light in
Speaking of pendants and lighting, one of the most exciting trends is towards light, natural spaces. That’s something we love about our new boardroom that we did with Lauren Gibbs from Spaceworks and the slimline fitting that makes the space seem so much bigger.
If you’ve got window space, then you might take advantage of it with greenery and hanging gardens and showcase the view. It’s all part of the blending of the natural with the technological that’s been on the rise, that harmony of the technological and the natural – and the home and the office – that’s redefining how we work and share our spaces.
The sum of all this is how important it is to understand a fit-out as a big-picture thing. Sure, you can sling in a couple of rugs or throw something on the walls, but it’s the cohesive whole that makes your space really shine. Whether it’s small changes to features or a total overhaul, a reinvigorated space means an updated identity for your brand – and a fresh approach to the way your staff and your customers see your company. Make sure you pick the right designer so you can be sure they’ll design your space in a way that reflects your business, your needs, and your people. What could be better than a team that’s motivated and excited when they come into a space they’re proud of?
Offices and commercial spaces aren’t going away any time soon. There’s something to be said having work and home spaces, with the travel to and from giving us the time we need to change our frames of mind and get into the right groove. Balance that out with our need to check in with our teams and the buoyancy many of us get working face-to-face, and commercial spaces are only going to get more innovative and more inviting. Count us in.