But how do you make your space comfortable, stimulating and reflective of your brand and office culture? Emile Azan of Chameleon Designs London and Norwich can help.
The flexibility, both in terms of space and cost, is one of the reasons he is such an advocate of this relatively new way of working, or whether you have your own dedicated work-space. There are plenty of others: ‘For co-working you are in a shared environment with other like-minded people, so there are opportunities for networking and socialising. And for a monthly fee, everything is taken care of, from printers to the internet to technical and handyman support. Or if work from home, reduced cost and the ability to manage your time and flexibility of working”
All of which explains the upsurge of people choosing co-working or home working spaces over conventional offices. Many are self-starters or small businesses looking for a professional place to work that can adapt or diminish as their business changes. And many have creative, tech or design-based businesses that suit the contemporary style and modern offering – gyms, coffee outlets and screening rooms are often part of the package or nearby to use.
A designed work space
Co working spaces for instance sometimes mean that whereas the communal areas were designed to a high standard, the individual spaces were not. Often clients are faced with a blank box furnished with just a desk, chair, lighting and carpet, many people did not know what to do with it or didn’t have the time. This is where his skills come in. Designers like Emile can customise your office space for you from a few pointers to a full design project including sourcing furniture, accessorising (stationery, books on bookshelves, clocks, pictures, cushions) and styling.
‘My clients might not feel confident enough to pull off the finished look themselves,’ he says. ‘They usually don’t have time but they have a bit of money to enable me to do it for them.’
A home from home
The trend now, Emile says, is for the office to replicate the home environment. ‘People want to incorporate other things into their working day, just like they do at home. They go to the gym, have a shower, go to classes. I might incorporate a reading corner with a bookshelf and an armchair, somewhere to listen to music or a snack cupboard. It’s a new way of looking at offices, which in the past have been sterile and static with people stuck at their desks. Now activities are varied, which means that offices are more productive, creative and healthy.’ It’s a new and exciting way of looking at the working environment.
Emile also ensures that her designs are transportable so that clients can take their furniture and accessories with them when they move on. In a home office you invest in the property and intend to stay for a long time, so invest in your home office too. Everything should be movable and changeable. Nothing is built-in or wall-mounted, which also protects the fabric of the building.’