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Office Interior Design Ideas in Australia 2022

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COVID-19 has turned the work life of most professionals on its head, reshaping our mindset on how we do our jobs, and more importantly, where. Employers have tested different ways to effectively implement flexible work, considering the need of employees to work remotely. In line with this, they’ve also started rethinking and preparing the office for when the workforce starts reporting on-site, especially since there’s a necessity for companies to accommodate ever-changing workplace best practices in the new normal.

As a number of employers start re-opening the doors of their office, many are examining the best way to redesign and repurpose their spaces post-pandemic with office interior design ideas. For a couple of years now, people have proven that they can work efficiently from the comfort of their own home, highlighting that the office, like any office equipment, is simply another tool. This raises the question – how can businesses make employees want to return to the office?

It’s important to understand that video conferencing tools cannot fully replace and/or fulfil the need for human connection. Employees will want to socialise and brainstorm with their colleagues again, coach and mentor team members, and rebuild workplace culture. Therefore, offering a space that encourages these while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of employees and clients is top priority.

With that in mind, here are several office interior design ideas in the new era of the workplace.

Flexible Workspaces

Employers are now acknowledging that most people no longer consider the office essential to be productive. Therefore, the space must be reimagined as a resource for brainstorming and collaboration. It’s essential to have smaller areas to conduct video calls, bigger meeting rooms that would provide ample distance between participants, and even lounges that can be used to work, relax, or interact with colleagues. Adjustable workspaces are also being implemented, with furniture and dividers that can be moved around to fit varying requirements. In a nutshell, employees must have the capacity to control the space they’ll be working in once they report on-site.

Dedicated Desks are in the Past

Assigned workstations that employees use daily are the norm for most companies. With desks becoming a “property” – a nest of sorts – that can be personalised to fit one’s taste. This is a concept that experts are advising to get rid of and replace with hot-desking, where employees have unassigned seats and instead select an open workspace or cubicle for any head-down work. These tables and areas can be easily sanitised between uses.

Contactless Features

Technology is key to ensure buildings and offices are secure, worker-friendly, and effective. Touchless systems and functions will provide ideal environmental and safety standards. These include:

  • Motion-activated lights and sensors for sinks, soap dispensers, toilets, and sanitisers, to name a few.
  • Automatic doors via keycards, motion sensors, or facial recognition.
  • Elevators and AV systems that can be controlled using smartphones.
  • Replace whiteboards with online “whiteboards” and digital presentations.

 

Furniture, Appliances, and Finishes

Future-proof offices with adaptable furniture, well-placed appliances, and carefully selected finishes that are antimicrobial and easy to sanitise. Here are things to remember:

  • Furniture must be lightweight and easily movable to accommodate a flexible workspace. It’s also important to choose couches and chairs with easy-to-clean fabric that are durable and low maintenance, such as microfiber.
  • Pantries, kitchens, and bathrooms must be equipped with smart appliances, such as those that can be activated using touchless technology. Apart from that, employers must invest in installing more refrigerators, water dispensers, and even dishwashers – perhaps designating for each department – to minimise the number of people using each equipment.
  • Not all surface finishes are the same. Some are easier and cheaper to clean, and there are those that use antimicrobial materials, such as copper, silver ion coatings, and metals.

 

Air Filtration

By now, we all understand that proper ventilation is essential to fending off the advancement of COVID-19 and numerous other pathogens. Having an open floor plan that allows windows to be opened is a quick solution to enhance office ventilation, and this feature is usually included in any office interior design ideas being canvassed. If the building doesn’t support this, employers can invest in air purification and HVAC systems that would benefit offices even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses can also opt for a more aesthetically pleasing and functional approach by adding planters that contain plants and have air filtration systems at the bottom. There are also versatile furniture such as bookcases that have a built in filtration system that cleans the air in the immediate area.

‘Homey’ and Residential Offices

After months – and even years, for some – of working from home, people are used to a particular level of comfort while doing daily work. Adding residential-style furniture and accents such as cosy sofas and plush rugs can replicate the comfy remote work setup that will help employees feel more contented and motivated while accomplishing their tasks. Going the extra mile, companies can also setup nap and relaxation rooms and outdoor seating areas that will let staff take well-deserved breaks, resulting to better well-being and productivity overall. A laidback atmosphere is more advantageous to promoting teamwork and positive work relationships between colleagues.

Embrace Nature and Warm Design

Office interior design ideas don’t just pertain to having bigger tables, adjustable dividers, and installing new systems. Companies must also consider the factors in office design that affect not just the physical, but also the mental and emotional wellbeing of the workforce. These include relaxing colour palettes and natural materials and finishing, cosy furnishings, natural light, greeneries and water features, and even outdoor spaces.

Employees often get tired of being exposed to hours and hours of computer radiation on their faces. This could even hinder them from formulating ideas and being productive. Views of nature and the feeling of fresh air can help re-energise staff, so businesses must consider having outdoor seating to provide these.

All these office interior design ideas when put together can provide employees with a preferable option to their homes, while helping to preserve and highlight company culture, and increase learning and mentoring chances in the workplace.

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