One of the office design trends to watch; businesses are increasingly referencing elements of residential design to turn offices into a ‘home away from home’ for their employees.

More than 1.7 million Canadians work from home at least once per week. While remote working isn’t an option for many employers, taking a few cues from what makes working from home so appealing for employees is a strategic step in creating a corporate culture that promotes a healthy work/live balance.

What’s driving this trend? One word: millennials. These 20-30 year-olds currently comprise more than one third of the workforce in Canada, and that percentage is expected to grow in the coming years as Baby Boomers reach retirement age and leave the office setting. Business owners are wisely taking a long, hard look at what motivates millennials to come to work with an eager and productive attitude.

The “Homestyle ” Office

The commercial design aesthetic can sometimes feel a bit sterile. Designing an office space that offers a few of the elements can convey the feeling of working from home.

  • Fireplaces
  • Full chef-style kitchens with access to healthy snacks and drinks
  • Game rooms
  • Shower facilities
  • Lounge furniture arranged for group meetings or impromptu brainstorming sessions
  • Open-plan design where cubicles are phased out in favor of short privacy walls, and one space flows seamlessly into the next
  • Quirky artwork that appeals to a younger, more relaxed workforce (as opposed to more formal “office-appropriate” artwork)

Loosening the Rules

Along with a homier look and feel, employers are blurring the lines between work and home by loosening dress codes where they can, allowing perks like the ability to bring a pet to work, and recognizing that different people have different ways of being creative and productive.