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Decoding Sustainability: A Look Into Sustainability Trends In The Commercial Design Space

Sustainability in commercial design determines the effective and efficient use of space that has a low impact on the environment.

How sustainability trends are redefining the commercial design space

Integrating sustainability trends in commercial design is no longer something that a company strives for. It has become a standard practice for companies to go green and embrace the environment. Several research data confirms that a working professional today spends about 40 percent of the active time in their workspace, be it office, hospitality outlets, healthcare organizations, education institutes, etc. Further, the exacerbating outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved the work culture across the globe that transcended the design for commercial spaces from functional to aspirational.

Sustainability in commercial design determines the effective and efficient use of space that has a low impact on the environment. Additionally, the emerging need for resilient work strategies increases the demand for holistic well-being, employee experience and smarter space optimization that further play a huge role in designing sustainable workspaces.

Flexibility in spaces

Designing workspaces in a new normal world comes with several considerations to drive long-term cost efficiency and meet space utilization goals. Based on resilient work strategies, companies are making real estate decisions based on work culture. The onset of the pandemic resulted in the rise of remote working culture. This prompted commercial design players to focus on adopting a hybrid design approach to create activity-based offices. Including collaborative areas, social points, well-designed smoke zones, etc are considered the key to flexible office designs. Furthermore, with the accelerated decline in one-on-one meetings and business travel, commercial design players are emphasizing on reshaping meeting rooms and integrating technology to create an environment for virtual meets. To accomplish this, the commercial design companies are leveraging the potential of VR application in office space design and real-time visualisation to generate a simulated walk-through in a virtual environment. In addition to this, technology is playing a vital role in property display and merchandising, off site control, operations and project management as well.

Technology driven smarter & safer workplaces

Technology in design is the need of the hour. In commercial space design, it is no longer considered a segment of smart office design. According to recent estimates – the size of the global smart office market stood at USD 34.81 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.11 percent to reach USD 69.12 billion by 2026. With the rapid adoption of digitalization, commercial design space players embrace new-age technology trends such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, etc to build futuristic smart office designs.

The smart office designs enable collaborative workspaces, inclusivity and enhance productivity. It includes – smart user interface, temperature, lighting and ambient controls. Considering the need for social distancing norms, commercial design players are focusing on leveraging the potential of IoT by integrating touchless technologies for employee attendance, automated doors, thermal screening, smart sanitization practices, sensor-based taps for drinking water and handwash. All the initiatives to turn a conventional space into a smart office space are tied to ensure employee wellbeing and productivity.

Workplace reflecting brand values and engagement

A successfully built sustainable office design depends on brand values. Before beginning the project, modern commercial design companies look into prioritizing the brand values to enhance employee experience. Commitment to delivering brand promise becomes the focus of the design companies. It starts with embedding brand-centric designs and tailor-made elements to reflect the culture & ethos.

Brand places worth with the approach of thoughtfully utilized elements of internal branding. It establishes a positive connection between employees and increases their dedication towards the organization as a brand. For instance –a company that has open workstations with no private cabins reflects an inclusive and collaborative work culture for employees.

The demand for new spaces post-pandemic is largely coming from layered organisations wherein mid-level workforces, physical retail, health care, educational institutions etc. have sprung back to normal in terms of workspace occupancy. This is primarily driven by their need to leverage either or all of the facets of culture, collaboration, tactility of engagement thus making eye-ball to eye-ball communication critical.

Holistic wellbeing of employees

In a competitive corporate landscape, the emotional and mental well-being of employees has become a major concern. According to a recent report – at least 7 in 10 workers are experiencing stress at least once during the working week in India. Thus, work-life balance and mental wellbeing are considered the priority when it comes to commercial space design. Given the scenario, there is an increased need for social spaces in offices where employees can connect to reach a better outcome. Apart from this, modern office designs incorporate break-out zones and other areas where the teams can experience mindfulness and meditation for their peace at work.

Summing up

Workplace design is a powerful tool in expressing brand culture. It has come a long way from mere workspace renovation to workplace transformation. There is an increased focus on modern design aesthetics combined with technology to bring sustainability. Thus, the time has come for companies to strike a perfect balance to reach a hybrid and holistic approach for office design.

Source: Business World

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