How Builders Seek to Create More Community as Technology Becomes More Isolating
Senior Vice President, B2B Research
We recently attended the Home Improvement Research Institute Summit (HIRI), where we learned about trends that are driving changes in the home improvement and construction industry. One such trend is open, communal floorplans and outdoor spaces.
It isn’t surprising that open areas and natural light are becoming so important in today’s technology age. Open, communal spaces are a natural juxtaposition with days full of screens and blue light. The residential market is seeing more and more requests for spaces that blur the lines of indoor and outdoor, such as transom windows or floor to ceiling glass doors, all with the intent of creating more connection with the communities that surround these spaces.
Open floorplans have been popular for some time, especially in residential construction, but more and more they are making their way into the commercial sector as well. Commercial builders and interior designers are now sought out by business owners to infuse workplaces with a sense of community that didn’t exist in the days of rotary phones and ashtrays.
It used to be that you would naturally talk to your co-workers verbally, even (dare we say) face-to-face. Workdays filled with water cooler conversations have now morphed into days of emails and IMs, and it’s leaving today’s workforce feeling a bit disconnected.
Face-to-face interaction doesn’t happen as easily as it used to. There needs to be a place for community, and builders and designers
recognize that. In fact, they are infusing commercial design with elements of hospitality and residential construction (example: a big kitchen island where you can work and chat with colleagues – even C+R has one!). We just recently moved into our newly built-out location and have taken these types of factors into consideration. We now have a large communal space, the C+R Café, where we can congregate for lunch or meetings.
Earlier this year, Interiors + Sources published an article talking about how commercial construction is starting to blur the lines between residential, commercial and hospitality with exactly these types of communal spaces.
Communal spaces provide a seamless and fluid work-day for employees to enjoy interacting with their colleagues socially while also collaborating on projects in a face-to-face environment that mimics what they are used to at home. The end goal, employers hope, is a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.
Do you have any communal spaces at your office? Tweet us @EmergeSmarter.