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The rise of resimercial design

Amtico’s workspace specification manager Samantha Boyd discusses the future of workplace design and how flooring plays a vital role in enticing employees to return to the office.

THE seismic changes in the workplace over the past couple of years are undeniable and, consequently, the focus has shifted from staff being in the office 100% of the time to a hybrid model. However, despite the disruption experienced, the office remains a critical element for many companies and is still seen as a beacon for collaboration.

Technology company Envoy recently published its report ‘At work: the 2022 workplace trends’, where it surveyed 800 workplace leaders around the world, to learn how their companies are getting employees excited to be back in the office. 88% of respondents said they were using incentives to encourage people back, and among the five most popular were ‘furniture and amenities’ and ‘office environment’. More precisely, companies are prioritising spaces that put occupants first – creating welcoming workplaces that help people feel grounded, comfortable and productive.

Regardless of whether office attendance is flexible or compulsory, the pivot in design is evident. Gone are the days of uninspiring rows of identical desks/workstations that prescribe only one way of working. Instead, the emphasis is on making the office feel like a ‘home-from-home’.

This movement in design has coined the term ’resimercial’, which is now an undeniable trend, as companies look to offer the same comfort experienced at home to increase productivity and improve wellbeing. In office settings, this not only creates a more comfortable and inviting space for employees to work in, but also allows them to clearly distinguish between work and home environments.

So, how are these contemporary, collaborative workspaces being created? And how do they promote productivity and positive wellbeing? First, bland corridors and dreary soulless environments are being kicked to the curb and replaced with warm, calming palettes instead. As you’d expect, colour plays a vital role when creating a flooring scheme and there’s plenty of research explaining how it can affect mood. Indeed, a more nature-based approach will create a more comfortable and welcoming environment, where subtle injections of colour can be dialled up or down depending on the setting.

The benefits of building with wellbeing firmly embedded into the design are being recognised globally. Recently, the World Green Building Council released a report containing strong evidence on how a range of factors can improve life for occupants; not just air quality, lighting, and thermal comfort – but also the look and feel of a space, its layout and contact with nature.

At Amtico, we’re seeing more designers and contractors use LVT products to achieve the ‘resimercial’ aesthetic. Of course, flooring design extends beyond picking the perfect palette; it can also be reflected in how a space is arranged to encourage collaboration, yet still provide access to areas where employees can work on their own. This can be achieved by using different colours or borders to demarcate specific zones, meeting/‘town hall’ areas or quiet workspaces. This variation shows companies recognise their employees’ need for personal space, while safeguarding the familiar office culture which encourages collaboration, productivity and creativity.

Furthermore, the introduction of large-format tiles has made it easier to create an almost seamless, calming look, while also simplifying installation for contractors or fitters. Plus, LVT can provide the look of natural materials in myriad colour palettes or stone and wood aesthetics that can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways.

Aside from aesthetics, workplace comfort is also influenced by noise, especially in office environments. LVT planks and tiles, for example, can be enhanced with acoustic performance backing layers to reduce sound transmission between floors. This is particularly useful in multilevel buildings, where neighbouring companies or employees could impact concentration or workflow for others. Amtico Acoustic, for example, enhances the acoustic properties of LVT by reducing sound transmission by up to 19dB and also provides an extra level of underfoot comfort – perfect for productive meeting spaces and creating quieter workstations.

As companies look to create softer, more natural environments, the combination of practicality and durability also makes LVT an obvious choice. It has several health and safety advantages, especially when opting for LVT products that encompass antimicrobial technology in addition to near-invisible nonslip particles. However, not all floors promoted as ‘safety flooring’ meet the required standard for long-term performance. So, flooring contractors should look out for products, such as Amtico Signature, that contain slip-resistant particles throughout the wearlayers of the LVT. These provide enhanced slip resistance for the lifetime of the product, helping companies meet safety and hygiene concerns.

So, updating workplace design to encourage workers back into the office is far more involved than adding some greenery and offering free snacks. Instead, the incentive of a home-from-home is undeniably an emerging trend, especially as the industry continues to find new ways of working in a post-Covid-19 era. What is more evident is that starting from the floor up is a key approach to adapting workplaces. This will ultimately deliver environments which are comfortable, safe and productive.

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