28 July, 2023
What if we could bring our favourite places into the office?
Opinion piece on Maris Design Strategist, Nupur Lahoti

The office space is no longer simply a place to put desks – as our Design Director, Adam Haury, will tell you. It’s a destination that offers your team a greater working experience than they would have at home, and help your business achieve greater results than a fully remote staff. That means creating a fundamentally elevated human experience, and that’s what we at Maris spend a lot of time thinking about, researching, understanding and implementing.

One way to do that is by implementing amazing experiences, which prompted our Design Strategist, Nupur Lahoti, to ask the question: ‘What if we could bring our favourite places into the office?’ Here’s what she has to say: 

Fast track to the future

What if we could bring our favourite places into the office? It’s obvious.

Thanks to technology, people can work from anywhere, carrying the office with them in their pocket, briefcase or backpack. More and more, it’s becoming routine to disappear from the workplace, going instead to cafés, bookstores or other venues that offer a more relaxed, informal vibe. 

Unlike the office, alternative settings allow us to settle into a comfy chair or perch on a stool at the counter and work in a way that feels unrestricted and authentic. However, most people find out fairly quickly that, although ‘anywhere’ may be a nice change of pace, the advantages are short-term. 

‘Anywhere’ is almost certain to lack the tools and technologies we depend on and access easily at work, to do our jobs well, whether it’s sticky notes and whiteboards or power access and printers. 

What’s more, with fully remote working, dispersed teams risk splintering and losing valuable face time. What’s gained by seeking out those comfortable, ‘favourite’ spaces in which to work, is lost in terms of working experience, and even enjoyment. As many employers know firsthand, the less time people spend in the office, the less likely they are to be fully engaged. 

Bringing ‘anywhere’, somewhere

So, as a design strategist, the answer is simple – we need to bring those favourite places into the office, which begs the question, what does that look like? As designers, this is a really exciting prospect, opening up a world of infinite possibility for businesses and their teams.

What if our work settings adjusted to us rather than us adjusting to them? People want the freedom to work their way, and it’s within our power to give that to them. Very few of us spend the day tethered to a desktop computer anymore. People move around and want flexibility as part of a work culture that encourages self-expression and authenticity.

Workplaces need to consider their purpose more strategically, and as a result, the questions raised by the ability to work remotely can actually make the intentional workspace much more beneficial for businesses. 

What do ‘favourite places’ look like in the workplace?

Creating a functional workplace where people actually want to be, meet, collaborate and innovate means balancing a number of different needs. While those needs change from one business to another, depending on their size, industry, stage of development and location, these are some of the top considerations to start with:

  • Communal: Allowing employees to be accessible to others.
  • Interactive: Increasing opportunities for social meetings and conversations. 
  • Confined: Providing services during local work hours.
  • Planned: Offering the required spaces and tools.
  • Authorisation: Allowing employees to engage the space based on their personal needs.
  • Hosted: Providing guidance and exploring additional services.
  • Personal: Providing settings for privacy and quiet.
  • Working: Supporting both individual work and connecting with others simultaneously. 
  • Global: Supporting global and distributed workers with early and late hours.
  • Extempore: Providing settings that support spontaneous interactions. 
  • Directive: Creating protocols that support the space to function in a seamless manner.
  • Exploratory: Supporting experiences that employees navigate on their own.

One way to think about the modern workplace is to plan for social destinations with a campus perspective. Today’s workplaces need to serve organisations complete with features that attract and are used by all employees as well as customers, partners and visitors. Figuring out solutions by understanding how key elements serve different purposes but also work together as a system to achieve business goals, is what modern office design is all about, and with that mindset, we can do great things.

Want to create a modern working environment that reflects your brand?   

Speak to the team at Maris