The role of the office in working life is changing. The opportunity and challenge of being constantly connected has paved the way for new ways of working. The pandemic accelerated these processes. We are working our way away from the office landscape of the 1980s towards a more paperless, fluid office work. Responsive employers have the opportunity to create offices for the new needs that have arisen, and the offices are moving towards a more domestic character.
At Ingenjörsbyrå Kronqvist in Jakobstad, designer Johanna Öst Häggblom has extensive experience in planning environments for companies. She has also thought a lot about what the office of the future should look like.– When we return to the offices after the pandemic years, it is with the advantages and disadvantages of remote work in our luggage. Many like to keep the positive aspects of remote work. Workplaces now need to be able to offer an attractive and safe environment to return to, where the company’s focus should be on creating a culture where the employee feels included and that he or she “belongs there”; a hybrid model is taking shape.
The days when the employer works physically on site at the offices become more social – that’s when discussions are held, ideas are shared and a bond with colleagues and the company is built. The office is moving towards a more homely character with meeting places and a cozy feel. At the same time, you need to be able to withdraw for, for example, online meetings or private conversations; environments need to be created where we do not disturb each other.– The employee may no longer have his named place in the office landscape, but instead a given place in the company where the work performed is equally valuable whether it is performed remotely, in the lounge or in the open landscape, says Johanna.
It is all about achieving good flows in the workplace and creating both meeting places, workstations and “quiet” environments. Johanna talks about room layout, interior design, acoustics, lighting, materials and colors, which all play a big role in this development.– We are taking a step away from the angular, where every workstation is the same, to more flexible and unique spaces that can be adapted from person to person. This becomes especially important when it comes to lighting and furniture.
For each location, it is important to choose the materials and colors with care. They must create a good sound environment, be safe and easy to keep clean. The color scheme, together with lighting and acoustics, should create a warm feeling at the same time that its helping you to stay alert and ready to work.
Ingenjörsbyrå Kronqvist is part of the group Kronqvist Bolagen and together with the sister company Kronqvist Byggservice, we can offer a complete solution with both planning and execution.– Many of our customers appreciate a so-called turnkey solution, where we take care of everything. We can efficiently and smoothly take care of the entire project, says Johanna.
The step towards these hybrid offices is also very much about the planner being flexible, thinking sustainably and seeing opportunities.– You rarely start from scratch when you have to plan a purposeful environment, but instead it can be about removing furniture from our currently overfurnished offices, dividing an office into two smaller ones or tearing down some walls to create open meeting places, choosing a warmer color for the walls and complement with soft furniture and textiles. It’s also about communicating new ways of thinking and looking at things in a new way – finally, the biggest change is about behaviors and whether we are ready to change them.