HOSPITALITY: The Next Big Thing in Office Design

By: Elizabeth Mixson

Work culture and, along with it, work space has changed drastically over the last decade. As the line between work and play continues to blur, traditional brick & mortar offices have transformed from physical spaces into hubs of innovation, community engagement and meaningful experiences. 

In order to attract the next generation of top talent, organizations are increasingly looking to make work environments as comfortable as possible by incorporating amenities such as ergonomic office furniture, private meeting rooms and ample connectivity options. However, leading-organizations are going a step further by incorporating hospitality inspired perks such as concierge services, residence-inspired meeting spaces, entertainment rooms and coffee shops/dining areas. The goal? To ensure employees as well as visitors feel at-home in the space. 

Though not every company has the budget or the desire to install over-the-top amenities such as beds and shower rooms, there are numerous ways you can make your office space feel more like home. To help you get started, below are a list of the top ways companies are embracing hospitality in the workplace. 

Concierge Services

Increasingly, companies are embracing a customer-centric mindset when it comes to managing employees. This means delivering the same sort of experiences in the workplace as one would find outside of the office. One way companies can do this without investing in expensive renovations or amenities is to create a team of dedicated office experience managers. These individuals are responsible for doing everything from welcoming visitors to the office to organizing both onsite and offsite office events to answering office space-related questions to running errands on behalf of employees. This offering allows your workforce to stay focused on the mission on-hand and provides a truly game-changing employee experience. 

Social Hubs & Lounges

Let’s be honest. We all need a break sometimes. In order to help employees do this as well as help foster relationship building and facilitate casual idea sharing, companies are now creating spaces dedicated solely to fun and relaxation. This means more than just pushing a bunch of old couches and a coke machine together in the corner of the office. In order to ensure people actually use these spaces for their intended purposes, they need to be comfortably situated, away from where others are engaged in deep-thought work and laid out in a way that encourages socialization. Some organizations even install connectivity and AV solutions in these areas just in case inspiration strikes.

Resimercial Design

Just as the line between work and play is blurring, so is the line between residential and office design. Perhaps in response to the cold, sterile design aesthetic that dominated in the age of the open office layout, office design leaders are “turning homeward.” In an effort to make their work environments as comfortable and inviting as possible, organizations are incorporating design elements traditionally found in homes such as:

  • Seated lounge areas [see above] 
  • Communal dining tables and workspaces
  • Unique, curated furnishings (i.e. living room chairs, art, vintage light fixtures, table lamps, etc.) vs. identical “office furniture”
  • Warm colors and natural materials 

Dining Amenities  

According to a study by ZeroCater, 90% of employers say that meals help their employees build stronger relationships with colleagues. In addition, more than a third of employees (38%) ranked office food as one of their top three office perks, alongside vacation time and professional development. 

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that companies are increasingly investing in dining amenities. Some organizations, such as LinkedIn and BCG, are installing fully functional dining facilities such as coffee shops and food halls. While others such as Salesforce, are still building communal dining areas and lounge spaces, but are encouraging employees to purchase their food offsite. Or, maybe once or twice a week, bringing in outside vendors to provide a wide-variety of meals to employees. Either way, these modern corporate dining spaces have more in common with trendy restaurants than your traditional company cafeteria both when it comes to design and food offerings.