Donna Dent, concept designer at Interface, explains everything you need to know about what customers are looking for with refurbed workspaces, and how to help them choose the perfect flooring solution for their project.
MANY companies are sharply focused on how to encourage teams back into the office as cities and towns across the country reopen for business. For many this means a refresh of their space to not only make it more appealing, but also to accommodate new ways of working that have emerged. Colleagues want to be able to collaborate after time apart, communicate easily with those who may still be remote and be able to take time out in breakout areas to maintain a good work-life balance.
Here, I’ll explain everything you need to know about what your customers are looking for with their refurbed workspaces, and how you can help them choose the perfect flooring solution for their project.
Downsizing doesn’t mean downgrading
Office spaces aren’t going anywhere. They play a central role in nurturing company culture. However, a lot of time has been spent in the last couple of years re-evaluating the role of the office and it’s true to say that every square foot needs to work as hard as possible for a business. For some, this means reassessing their current floor plate and potentially downsizing.
While premises may be smaller, that doesn’t mean that budgets are, so it’s important to speak to your customers to find out what their end goal is. For example, many companies will have set goals around carbon reduction and will be keen to opt for solutions that support these sustainability targets. For flooring, this could mean suggesting products that are carbon neutral or negative, while also offering a high-end design.
Adapting to changing needs
One factor driving your customers to consider a refurb will be increasing flexibility across a workspace, especially if it’s a little smaller. Areas need to be able to accommodate different activities, with larger collaborative spaces adapting for things like group meetings or social events. Mobile furniture is one way to achieve this and the flooring needs to be able to support this shift.
We’re seeing an increase in the use of luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, across a greater area of a floorplan, rather than simply in single areas like kitchens or dining spaces. As well as offering great durability and excellent acoustic performance, these tiles are available in a wide range of designs from natural finishes of wood and stone to more unique, colourful options. This means your customers can benefit from beautiful flooring spaces, whilst fulfilling their objective of catering for various uses.
The rise of resimercial
Resimercial design is a key trend to be on top of when it comes to offices. It’s all about bringing home comforts into workplaces to make them more inviting and welcoming for end-users who have become used to working from home. It’s the perfect way to freshen up an office space.
Softer, more comforting colours are now being chosen – such as neutral beiges and greys, sand tones, terracotta, and salmon shades – and modern textures are being brought in to reflect emerging residential trends rather than colder, more traditional corporate designs.
The introduction of rug inserts into flooring design is also key to achieving this trend and can be a simple way to refresh modular flooring or as part of a complete refurb. Integrating a bold pattern or softer texture across a small section of the floor creates this effect and can help to easily establish zones that encourage teams to take a break or hold more informal meetings and catch-ups.
Helping businesses achieve a resimercial design, which is a departure from the more familiar corporate space, can require some extra support, so offering them samples and small mock ups before fitting the flooring is a good way to help them visualise the overall design before committing to using certain products.
Wellbeing remains a priority
Getting teams back into the office requires an increased focus on wellbeing. People need a greater level of support so creating a space that positively impacts their wellbeing is vital. When it comes to a refurb project, bringing in elements of biophilic design is a great way to do this. In the past, this has meant choosing flooring solutions that mimic nature through stone and pebble-style textures and bright green tones.
This has been toned down in recent years, with customers opting for natural wood LVT along with muted green and blue carpet tile. These are a perfect complement to planting as well as furniture that uses more natural materials.
Thinking full circle
A key element of any refurb project that shouldn’t be overlooked is what happens to the products that are being replaced. When it comes to flooring, it’s just as important to choose a responsible end of life option as it is to recommend a sustainable new solution.
Many manufacturers offer take back schemes where carpet tiles are reused in other settings like schools and social housing, having a positive environmental and social impact. Even if the flooring is not fit for use, it can be repurposed within applications such as equestrian areas. It’s important to explore which options are available and what happens to old products to ensure that minimal waste enters landfill.
Refurbs are rife in 2022, and the way to get them right is by focusing on maximising space available, putting wellbeing front and centre with nods to home design comforts, and choosing products that have been created with climate in mind. By doing so, companies can deliver commercial spaces that truly help building users reach their potential, while actively supporting the planet.