My office is my second home--and some days it seems like even more than that. In fact, I chose my real life home--a loft in the Flatiron district of NYC--as much for the high ceilings as for the nine-minute walk to work.
Today, many of us spend far more waking hours in the office than we do in our homes. I don't have the exact data to back that up but just ask Google, it knows. So when Monday morning rolls around and I'm strolling to the office, I really feel like I'm walking to my weekday home. And, you know, I don't hate it.
In so many ways, really, my office is nicer than my home--it's better designed, it's peaceful, it has a large kitchen island, and gets way more natural light. If my fiance agreed to live there instead, I'd honestly just get rid of the other place and post up in a small conference room. Plus it's full of wonderful people who inspire me, make me laugh, and make everyday more interesting than the last.
As a founder, I believe I'm at least partially responsible for the health and happiness of my team members. If I'm going to expect of them not only the majority of their waking, productive hours, but also that they too contribute to the health and happiness of their work family, then I owe them something more than an office.
Bringing the home into the office
Incorporating residential furnishings into the workspace allows for employees to feel happier in a place they spend most of their days. If employees are happier, they will be more efficient and in turn take pride in their work. Which is exactly why, when you visit our office you'll see more armchairs than desks. The fluorescent lights that make you look exhausted no matter how much sleep you've gotten have been replaced by sparkly chandeliers that make you feel like Belle in that ballroom scene from "Beauty and the Beast." Where walls once divided the space, we have drapery that opens and closes depending on the mood we want to set.
Most importantly, we also have variety--spaces for those who prefer a quiet focus and those who seem to want to open source literally everything. If I watched the average Homepolish team member work through the day, I would see them move from place to place--sofa to conference room to phone booth--crafting for themselves the perfect productive environment. Building individualized workspaces allows people to find a sense of home in the office.
Even though you want to achieve a residential look, you need to keep in mind that commercial furnishings are built differently. Think about the amount of wear office furniture gets as opposed to home furnishings. The durability and safety of commercial pieces is a key concern, but manufacturers are constantly improving on aesthetics and comfort.
Go-to suppliers within the commercial office sphere often include Knoll, Herman Miller, Teknion, Steelcase, and Vitra, but that doesn't mean that there aren't newcomers who are breaking onto the scene. BluDot and Design Within Reach pop up more and more in our designers' sources and we have many pieces from West Elm Workspace in our own office.
When thinking through your own office design be sure to keep the below in mind:
Forego the linear fluorescents that will automatically make your office (and your face) look tired. Opt for sconces to layer light like you'd see at home, or if you want to splurge, a chandelier. And remember to pay attention to the color temperature of the lighting.
It's all about options--while you can always have the traditional desks, offer standing desks, bar-height tables, communal tables, and lounges. To go a step further, offer seating vignettes.
Infusing your office space with color not only makes it more welcoming and fun, it is also an opportunity to incorporate company brand into the space. And remember color doesn't just mean paint... it can be everything from graphics, to artwork, to the upholstery.
Think about other rooms in your home that you would like to have at work. Outfit a kitchen, a café space, a reading nook or two... all of these will allow people to find moments of peace away from their work.
Bringing green into the work space literally breathes more life into a previously formal environment.
Last, but certainly not least, what makes your office a true second home is the people. Listen to their needs and wants and try to accommodate as best as possible.