Designed for work while feeling like home – what to know about this growing office trend

July 16, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Interstate Office Products.

As the line between work and home blurs, it’s probably not surprising that offices are shifting toward feeling more like living spaces.

There’s no one word to describe it in the industry – “resimercial” is one way to try – but the blend between residential-feeling furnishings and commercial-grade pieces keeps getting better.

“The customer is wanting to get away from the sterile corporate feel,” said Gary Gaspar, president of Interstate Office Products. “They’re tired of walking into an office building where it all looks the same – workstations, private offices, meeting rooms. They don’t want it to look like a typical office.”

But furnishing a home and furnishing an office are drastically different, he added.

“You want it to perform like commercial furnishing but with a residential look and feel,” Gaspar said. “Furniture in your home has very limited use. You might not be home all day to sit on your couch. At work, seating can be used all day long, five days a week. And pieces aren’t treated like you’d treat furniture at your home.”

Furniture used at work also has to support the work done in the office, he added.

“It needs to support power, technology, ergonomics and posture,” Gaspar said. “And with the new types of quality products becoming available, that’s definitely possible.”

Leading furniture provider Steelcase and its Premier Partner, Interstate Office Products, are at the forefront of the industry shift.

Steelcase recently announced a partnership with West Elm to design, manufacture and distribute new workplace solutions in West Elm’s signature modern aesthetic. It will give businesses easy access to an expansive array of choices as they integrate residential-feeling products into the workplace.

“We’re very excited to begin working with these new options,” said Kristi Christensen, vice president of sales and design at Interstate. “We have a huge database with a wide variety of styles and materials all in one place. We can design very uniquely for clients using that partnership.”

The West Elm partnership is one of a growing number at Steelcase, which is already working with 20 brands.

Another is Chicago-based Sagegreenlife, which designs and manufactures interior and exterior living green walls, which enliven work spaces with plant life.

Through the Steelcase marketplace, designers and their customers can access “elements like finishes and colors that can be more responsive to trends,” Christensen said. “It’s just getting bigger. It started with work cafes and different styles of break rooms, and now it’s being increasingly woven into office projects.”

It’s also a good fit in health care, said Dick Molseed, vice president of strategy and governance at Avera Health.

He’s considering “resimercial”-style furnishings for Avera’s new addiction care center at 69th Street and Louise Avenue.

“We want an environment that feels homey and welcoming and not institutional,” he said. “We also need furniture that is durable and will hold up, not only in addiction care but in our Avera on Louise orthopedics and guest space.”

The project breaks ground next month, and Molseed said he is working closely with Interstate Office Products to integrate a “resimercial” feel in everything from the common spaces to the bedrooms and even the outside space.

“We love the durability of commercial but want something that feels more personal, and we know lots of people need a power source as well, and IOP understands that so well,” he said. “They have the right lines of furniture, almost endless finish options, and they meet the rigid standards of health care. Their designers get it right. We just couldn’t find a better partner.”

The addiction care center could have the feel of an upscale hotel, Christensen said.

“When clients or families come in, they want them to feel comfortable and safe, and not feel like a sterile environment,” she said. “We’re working with them to create that space that might remind you of home and put you at ease.”

And while the “resimercial” products are enjoyable to look at and use, there’s a practical side to how Interstate and Steelcase are approaching them, Gaspar said.

“The logistics of outfitting spaces with pieces from multiple brands can be challenging,” he said.

“The way we’re approaching it, and because of the vast relationships that are developing through Steelcase, it’s all bundled under one company, and the client takes advantage of scale and buying power. It simplifies project logistics by combining shipments with all brands coming together on time and decreases the likelihood of damaged or delayed product. It provides a lot more confidence and a higher level of service.”

As more businesses embrace residential-feeling furnishings, they likely will see a return in recruitment and retention, Christensen added. Employees who seek flexible work-from-home arrangements, work-life balance and casual work environments respond to an office that feels more like home.

“Workstations are workstations,” Christensen said. “It’s the other spaces in the office that can have significant impact on employees. When they come in to do an interview, they aren’t looking at where they’re going to sit. They’re looking at amenities. They’re looking at team spaces.”

To learn more about how this growing trend could fit your workplace, contact Interstate Office Products at 605-339-0300 or visit i-o-p.com.

Designed for work while feeling like home – what to know about this growing office trend

As the line between work and home blurs, it’s probably not surprising that offices are shifting toward feeling more like living spaces.

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