Softly Furnishing The Office

Soft furnishings are something we often associate with the warm environment of our homes, but as we are spending more time at work, isn't it about time we translate this sanctity to the office space?

At Balance Interiors, we love to keep an eye on office trends around the world through press reports, industry blogs, magazines and shows; and one thing we've noticed lately, is the importance of establishing areas that promote a sense of 'softness' making colleagues and customers feel at ease.

In fact, world renowned industry leader, Steelcase, has recently merged with boutique furniture giant, West Elm, clearly leading the pack on this forthcoming trend.

To confirm their direction, a recent employee survey of over 3000 people by Capital One, found that a flexible, changeable office space was imperative to performance, alongside breakout spaces to collaborate and private 'booths' that allow more concentrated work. In the same study, it was also found that at executive level, 76% said that workplace design is as, or MORE important that workplace location, while 66% of non-executives tended to agree.

"Two in three employees (66 percent) found workplace design as important, or more critical, than workplace location. At executive level employees feel even more strongly. More than 3 in 4 (76 percent) say workplace design is as, or more, important than workplace location, compared to just 63 percent of non-executives." - Capital One

While we are usually all about the dominance of workstations, it appears that workers from around the world are wanting their spaces to more closely resemble residential - and we're taking that onboard.

According to our research, we've found that globally, people are wanting MORE spaces to work from, find privacy in, and escape to in order to get their focus back on track.

They want more natural light.

They want more comfortable seating.

They want to feel more at home in their office environment.

They want more earthly elements like plants, brickwork and wood.

They want more opportunity to find privacy when they need to be focused.

They want more opportunity to be around others when they need to boost creativity.

In fact, one of the buzzwords of late in the commercial furniture industry is aptly 'workplace experience'. It's about recreating the work space, by offering employees more movement and freedom to define business success. Soft furnishings such as couches in breakout spaces are provided with extra cushioning, nest or hanging egg chairs are being welcomed inside and out, privacy pods with soundproofing are being set up in open plan areas for mini-meetings, energy-pods are becoming more hip for a quick refresh, and booths equipped with sofa's and electricity ports are utilising otherwise unused space.

As white collar working hours are on the rise and the capacity of their roles stretched, workplace wellness incentives will also be embraced to ensure that staff are well cared for physically, emotionally and mentally. With this insight streaming from the US, UK and Asia, we imagine that Australia will only naturally follow suit, and we're preparing our offering to meet those growing demands.

Given the high turnover of staff represented by flooded job search pages of late, don't you think it's about time to start listening to what your staff want to hold their interest, instead of letting them find comfort somewhere else? Something to ponder for the week ahead perhaps.

If you have any questions or concerns about the comfort of your staff, give us a call on (03) 9761 4555 and ask how we can help recreate your office space.

Wishes in wellness,

The Balance Team

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