From home-like touches to acoustic pods: How the office is changing

“Resimercial” layouts, acoustic pods and modular phone booths: these are just three of the new design twists coming to a workplace near you as employees return to offices reconfigured for the post-pandemic era.

That said, opinion is still sharply divided between those who want to go back and those who don’t. Savvy employers have recognised that prising employees away from the comforts of working from home may take some doing. This is why some are going all out to tempt returnees with perks such as cash bonuses, free lunches and resimerical office makeovers.

Resimerical, an amalgam of residential and commercial, is meant to create a more home-like atmosphere at work. Those in favour say it’s about more than plonking a sofa and a pot plant in a corner. It’s to do with creating an appealing working environment (think warm wooden floors and tasteful splashes of colour) that encourages employees to feel positive about being there. In so doing, it supposedly boosts wellbeing and productivity.

Also popping up in post-pandemic office design are acoustic pods and modular phone booths. Neither are new per se. What is new is their wide-scale adoption to meet the requirements of social distancing and safe working spaces.

For those unfamiliar with the concepts, an acoustic pod is a room within a room where someone can go for privacy or “do not disturb” time, while modular phone booths provide a quiet space for telephone and video calls.

Both typically come with sound proofing, ventilation, a desk, a doodling board and a motion sensor to activate the lighting and air con.

Budget considerations

Office refits can be as fancy as money allows but it’s not unusual for large organisations to have spent €150,000 or more on a Covid revamp. SMEs with more modest budgets can still make positive changes with as little as €5,000 says Michelle Leyden, commercial director at Bizquip, an Irish-owned office interiors, equipment and workflow solutions company.

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