Once crammed full of desks and despondence, office floors are being transformed with comfy sofas, laptop-friendly booths, stylish furnishings, plants and stunning artwork: everything designed and selected to reflect the business brand and help garner a sense of calm.
Companies wanting to put the chaos and confusion behind them are keen to entice employees back to the office and engage, connect and recreate a culture of positive experiences.
As a result, art is fast becoming a hot commodity in office redesign. Why?
It can help your employees to positively reconnect with the business, the brand and their environment. From traditionally framed pieces to abstract mixed media originals, companies are beginning to understand that
‘An art experience that connects to your brand, mission and values is “absolutely critical" to business organisations. It brings your brand to life.’Source: State of the Art Consulting and Curating Business Survey.
Rethinking Work Environments
Now that we can return to the office, one of the biggest questions companies are asking, ‘Do we all need to come back to the office, and if so, what does that look like?’
While there is a healthy mix of traditionalists, pioneers, and everything in between, most are looking to adopt new working methods, including the much-discussed hybrid model: a combination of office and remote-based working.
JLL reports that ‘Companies are launching pilot programs to try new ways of working, an effort aimed at learning what works best before investing in new workplace concepts across their entire real estate portfolios.’
As a result, companies are in a state of flux: With so much uncertainty surrounding current and future decisions on the pros and cons of hybrid working, businesses are struggling to predict their future needs for office space.
Short Term Changes to offices that support hybrid working
As offices gradually welcome back more staff, one increasing demand is the need for better video call spaces to allow calls to connect staff working in the office with those at home and with customers and suppliers.
Many meeting rooms and office spaces were not originally designed with the right acoustics to support video calls. Voices can sound tinny and hard to decipher. The problem often gets worse as people start talking louder to compensate for the poor sound.
The ideal solution is to combine art and sound with custom-made acoustic panels that reflect the brand while fulfilling a practical purpose. This quick and effective solution converts standard meeting rooms that weren’t originally designed with suitable acoustic treatments to support increasing numbers of video calls.
Acoustic wall panels help smooth out any sound echo and reverberation, plus they look fantastic too. There are three main types of wall panels: Art Panels, Photo Panels and Fabric Panels. Click here to learn more about these acoustic wall panels.
One GingerWhite client, 1KBW, recently revamped their meeting rooms with acoustic art panels, and the sound was a concern.
“With the increased use in video conferencing, Chambers required a solution in terms of acoustics for some of the conference rooms. We found the perfect solution with GingerWhite and the use of bespoke artwork with fitted acoustic panels. The result is much-improved acoustics with the added benefit of excellent artwork.” Jo, Consultant CEO, 1KBW, London
Artwork credit by Jan Groenhart
In the short term, many companies are looking to remodel their spaces to create calm and welcoming spaces for employees to break out for discussion and social areas to eat, drink, and brainstorm.
Natwest is a perfect example of redesigning their offices for the shifting times. In a recent article in The Guardian, they suggest
‘The transformation is part of its efforts to cater to the new hybrid worker who will split their time between home and office.’
They are currently planning to welcome back 64,000 employees to the office, BUT only 13% will be required to be at their desk five days a week, while one in three will be able to live and work anywhere in the UK and go into the office just two days per month.
It’s a huge undertaking and one that requires careful consideration in the layout and use of each space, getting creative with carpets, couches and cafes.
Medium to Long Term: Flexibility is Key for Offices
On the flip side, many companies have already downsized offices, shifted their teams to alternative locations and are reconsidering the renewal of their current leases.
According to a report from Virgin Business Media
‘65% of public sector organisations say hybrid working will be here to stay after Covid-19 while 55% of private firms agree.’
Medium to longer-term flexibility will be the key for facilities managers and organisations managing their current and future office space requirements. Some companies may already be thinking about downsizing their office space needs or changing locations, but they still need to remember that change can and will take time due to agreements with office leases and finding suitable alternatives.
Despite being in a state of flux, leaders still need the workplace to be fit for purpose, so it will require remodelling and redesign but on a smaller scale and budget until long-term plans are decided.
Art rental provides flexibility during uncertain times
Art rental is a brilliant solution to redesign your current space while being flexible in managing future uncertainty in finances and office space requirements. It’s difficult to justify spending thousands of pounds on buying artwork, yet you still want to have it in your office to promote wellbeing while creating a destination to attract your employees back to the office.
Renting artwork allows you two key benefits
1. Regular monthly payments allow you to spread the cost of having bespoke artwork without the commitment of a big investment.
2. If you need to move offices to upsize or downsize, renting affords you the option to increase or decrease the number of pieces you need, including their size and style to suit your new surroundings.
Plus, if you wish, you can get the whole team involved in the decision-making and embrace the design experience of their own environment with an online voting tool that allows every employee to have their say. Learn more about the options and software tools available to help you choosing artwork for your office here
The next phase of art rental and workplace design.
Change is inevitable, but lately, we have had to make huge shifts across all aspects of our work and home life.
The fact is that many companies probably don’t know what they need just yet in terms of office space. The pandemic hit many companies hard: forcing them to relinquish prime location leases and rapidly downsize their workforce. Others took the 100% remote or work-from-home options to retain workers or furlough whomever they could. CEO’s were decisive, and change was rapid.
As the sense of urgency wanes, it has left many companies uncertain of what to do next. It’s a tough call and one that may take several moves to get it right.
The next phase of business decisions will be more considered and take time to establish precisely what the business and their employees need to be productive, thrive, and maintain positive health and wellbeing levels.
The good news is that today, the world is more flexible than ever, and renting art is one of the most fluid, adaptable to its environment and transformative.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso.