Tips For Creating that “At Home” Feeling in Your Business Center

Breakout space at Orega in Birmingham
Example of a lounge-style breakout space at Orega, Birmingham

The office is changing… literally. So says a 2013 workplace trends report from Sodexo. How does this impact your business center?

The report predicts there will be a new awareness of office design – one that emphasizes how office space must adapt to fit the way people work instead of the other way around.

“Companies see today’s offices as customized tools for working and living better. While those designs are as varied as their inhabitants, some common characteristics stand out,” Sodexo reports. “Today’s offices are brighter, with artificial light taking a backseat to daylight that fills the space, an emphasis that affects the design of everything from floor plans to the building’s façade.”

Your ability to impact office design, to some extent, comes down to site selection. Are you choosing buildings with modern facades? Are there opportunities for artificial light to shine in? If not, you may not be able to tap into these office design trends – but you can still take control of your floor plan through a build out.

Whether you are just moving into a new office tower or you are a long-time resident, you can renovate the floor you are occupying. The coworking trend, along with the collaboration trend, has spurred a demand for more open spaces.

“Because companies are looking for ways to engage their employees and create a sense of community, common spaces get the lion’s share of money and attention, with more real estate devoted to these areas than ever before; administrative and filing spaces are the losers in this exchange,” the report claims.

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Getting That At Home Feel

Does that mean individual offices are disappearing? No, but they are shrinking in size – and sometimes in number. In an era when no sharp line can be drawn between home and work, Sodexo reports that offices are borrowing traits from houses to offer more amenities and to reflect the same destinations found in any residence: kitchen, pantry, living room, and family room.

Business centers have an advantage here because most tend to offer a kitchen area. You might easily install a pantry and expand the open areas to feel more like living rooms, with big “comfy” couches and other furnishings that make tenants feel more at home. Some business centers are already moving in this direction. Others have gone all out with rooftop gardens and patios.

The bottom line is to do what your space will let you do – and ask your tenants for creative ideas for the space you have.