How hospitality design cues are enhancing the workplace experience
Taking inspiration from hospitality design could be a great way of improving your space. Not only can it lead to a streamlined, flexible, and modern environment, it can also be used strategically as a tool to improve employee collaboration, increase employee retention and show your team you understand what they actually want from an office. Whether you have a full office fit-out planned, or simply want to introduce a couple of elements of hospitality design into your space, we’ve outlined 7 common design trends to help incorporate hospitality design in your space.
Flexibility is Key
Just like office design, hospitality and hotel design has changed drastically in the past decade. In a world of skyrocketing property prices, hospitality design has to have flexibility at its core in order for the hotels to thrive. Can guests use the café area as a place to work as well as somewhere to grab a coffee? Can the lobby or entrance double as a space for socialising? Multipurpose spaces are becoming more common, particularly in big cities, where real estate can be extremely expensive. These spaces can be tailored to the needs of those who use them, and are increasingly popular in the workplace. The changing ways of working, and particularly the rise of agile working, has led to an increase in flexible spaces in the office. Employees expect more than just a desk to work at, they expect their needs to be catered for and a design that allows for flexibility can help with this.
In the past, hotel design centred around the brand itself, and this would often mean that hotels from the same brand would be nearly identical throughout the world. Nowadays, hotels are more commonly designed around the people that visit their space – the guests. Individuality, even within hotel groups, is becoming much more common as hospitality designers adapt to the wants and needs of the modern consumer. Because of this, hotels from the same brand, or in the same group, can be vastly different in terms of their design and decor, depending on the type of guest they expect. We have witnessed a similar shift in workplace design, with modern designers shining a light on the importance of individuality and of designing your space to fit your team.
Embracing regional-based design is huge in the hospitality world. Hotels are increasingly focussing on creating an environment inspired by local culture, which is vastly different to the brand-oriented hotels of the last 20 years. This connection to the local culture is filtering into workspace design, as well. Their location is often a big part of how companies identify themselves, and they are frequently drawing on local customs, design and materials to create spaces that reflect their surrounding area and the local community. In practical terms, this may mean anything from using local materials, such as wood or stone, in the workplace, to be using local designers in the design process.
It’s all about the Arrival Experience
We have already established the importance of the experience for guests or employees, and arriving at the workplace, or a hotel, is one of the most important experiences for guests, visitors or employees. The traditional hotel check-in, with guests waiting in a queue to be called to a desk where keys and credit cards are exchanged, is disappearing. The process is moving from being an often dull and forgettable transaction to a positive experience, with the hope that creating memorable and enjoyable experiences will promote customer loyalty. This is similar for the workplace. Thanks to advances in technology, much of what was traditionally required of an office receptionist, such as directing calls, reserving meeting rooms and checking in guests, has been taken over by computer systems, and it is increasingly common to find a concierge, rather than a receptionist, in the lobby of an office. A concierge can not only keep an eye on the more traditional tasks expected of a receptionist, they can assist with the day-to-day activities of the employees, helping balance work and wellbeing through assisting with travel, ordering in lunch for an important client meeting, and more.
Create a Community
Creating a feeling of community and trust within your team is vital for your business. Your employees don’t need to be best friends, but there needs to be a level of trust and respect to help promote the creativity and collaboration that will take your business to the next level. The flexible, multipurpose areas with comfortable furniture in hotels are designed to promote interaction and social connection. This idea has been implemented in the workspace through breakout zones and third spaces to encourage collaboration between teams, idea sharing and social interaction.
Bring the outside in
Bringing the outside in with the introduction of biophilia is becoming a central part of hospitality design. The idea behind introducing biophilic design to a space is to help us feel connected to nature and the wider world, whilst also helping to improve wellbeing and reduce stress. In a hospitality setting, biophilia is most commonly incorporated into the lobby or communal areas through water features, plants and lots of natural light. Hotels are also embracing the biophilia trend in hotel rooms, through the introduction of natural colours and materials.
Biophilia has been found to improve health and wellbeing and improve productivity in the workplace so should be a no-brainer in your space. Offer a space with heaps of natural light, incorporate natural materials such as stone or wood or simply invite your employees to bring a small plant to keep on their desk. Even the smallest hint of biophilic design can still have the same positive effect on employees.
Encourage Coffee Culture
As consumers, we are becoming a lot more knowledgeable about the coffee we drink. Because of this, we expect the best quality wherever we are, whether it’s a hotel, cafe or the workplace. Hotels are seeing the benefits of offering a premium, barista-quality coffee experience for guests. Showing guests you acknowledge this by offering a great cup of coffee not only helps drive loyalty, but also helps keep guests on site as they don’t need to go elsewhere to get their caffeine fix. These days, hotels aren’t only offering a great coffee experience in the restaurant/cafe area, its now more common to also find speciality coffee in the rooms and executive lounges, where guests are encouraged to grab a coffee and relax.
Coffee culture in the workplace translates to higher productivity, more collaboration and increased creativity. Embracing coffee culture in the workplace, particularly by creating a dedicated space for employees to take a break, have a coffee, and grab a bite to eat, is a great way of encouraging interaction and conversation between employees. In order to get this trend right, it’s vital that you’re offering a first-class coffee experience for your employees.
Hospitality design can be a great tool for improving the workplace. It places emphasis on the experience, rather than the individual products and finishes that make up the space. There is a focus on the value that can be added for guests in any given room or area, and taking this approach when designing an office can help attract and retain the best talent as employees now expect their workplace to cater for, and enhance, their working experience. Hospitality-inspired spaces can create a sense of community and help promote health and wellness and improve staff morale and engagement.
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