Resimercial design is all about making the office more like home. It’s a design style that has been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years. We think it’s about to get a big new boost from companies looking to lure workers back to the office.
Most office workers have spent the past year working out their homes, while Covid restrictions have been in place. Convincing them to come back to the office will require some creative thinking. Resimercial design brings aspects of home into the contemporary office, creating a warm, attractive workspace. Creating homelike environments — where employees really enjoy spending time — may be the perfect way to draw workers back.
So, what does resimercial design look like, and how can your company gain benefits from incorporating it into your workspace?
3 Key Aspects of Resimercial Design
Today’s workers want their workspaces to feel homier and more relaxed, because people are now used to working at home. And they’re not going to want to come back to a stuffy office. Resimercial design transforms the office into a comfortable and stress-reduced environment, which makes it the perfect style for this moment.
To create a workspace with the comforts of home and the benefits of an office, companies should focus on three things:
Materiality: Resimercial design uses a variety of textures and finishes to make spaces feel less like sterile corporate environments. This mix of materials, colors, and surfaces can help make an office more welcoming and authentic. Try to incorporate higher-end materials, such as leather-look upholstery, wood-tones, and even area rugs. You want to create a space where your employees feel comfortable spending 40–60 hours a week.
Likewise, look at adding different types of lighting. Traditional overhead fluorescent lights can be harsh and make a space feel washed out. Accent lighting — including desk, table, and floor lamps — can actually improve the wellbeing of your employees by better matching their circadian rhythms. In early morning and late afternoon, when there’s less sunlight, additional accent lighting will help your employees stay energized.
Natural Elements: Another great way to make the office feel more relaxed is by bringing the outdoors in. The fancy term is biophilic design, but it really just means embracing more plants or elements that are reminiscent of nature. This obviously includes real plants, but it can also mean other types of materials. Adding wood — either laminate or the real deal — as opposed to artificial-looking surfaces — is a great option. Likewise, you wan to include as much natural light and fresh air as possible. Avoid creating spaces that are completely cut off from the outdoors. People do better when they feel connected to nature.
Flexibility: A key component of resimercial design is flexibility. Traditional office design builds out rooms that are typically only good for one type of use. Today’s employees, however, engage in a number of different types of work activities that need a variety of flexible space. Offices need to double as breakout rooms. The large reception area of years past has been replaced by a comfortable lounge where employees can also do work.
Flexibility is also critical in your office furniture. Conventional office furniture systems were big, bulky, and stationary. It also all had to match. One very practical benefit of resimercial design is that you can mix-and-match furniture. Just as in your home, pick the pieces that speak to you. They don’t all have to come from the same furniture system. Moreover, if (when) a piece needs to be replaced — “Dammit, Joe, we said no more slushies on the couch!” — you won’t have to match it perfectly to your furniture vendor’s system.
An Engaging Employee Workspace
You’re probably not going to let employees walk around in pajamas like they did while working at home. But you can absolutely create a space where they feel comfortable and engaged. Resimercial design aims to do just that by bringing the comforts of home into the office.
In addition to couches, table lamps, and area rugs, the most successful resimercial offices include the benefits of so-called “third places.” Third places, like coffee shops, parks, and the local pub, are part of our life in a community. They can help foster more creative interactions by inviting people to “hang out” and emphasizing socialization.
Resimercial design looks to create spaces that naturally promote social interactions. The goal is not, of course, to keep people from being productive. Instead, encouraging social connections helps cultivate a strong company culture. Employees who have friends at work are more likely to be engaged and have low turnover. Unplanned social interactions have also been shown to spark creativity, which is an important goal for many of today’s knowledge economy businesses.
The bottom line is that comfortable employees are happier and better workers. And the good news is you don’t actually have to hire a barista in order to get that feeling in your office. Resimercial design uses a variety of textures, materials, and social spaces to evoke a sense of warmth, comfort and familiarity. Together, this creates an antidote to institutional formality while still maintaining professionalism.
That said, it might still help to install a keg.
Lindsay has a passion for all things design. A graduate of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she studied interior design, product design, and graphic design in college. She now brings that passion to PlanForce, helping clients design unique spaces and custom furniture that shines.
Equipped with a designer’s eye, a storyteller’s soul, and a marketer’s targeted goal-setting, Brock works with clients to help develop integrated branding, graphic design, and digital marketing solutions — creating property marketing and space branding solutions to tell their stories and reflect their values.