Defining and Measuring the Influence of “Resimercial” Design in Today’s Workplace

Amanda Schneider, founder of Contract Consulting Group, shares a sneak peek of the results from their forthcoming study on “resimercial” design.

How do you feel about the term “resimercial”? Love it? Hate it? Let us know by taking our three-question poll at the end of this article!

Image courtesy of National Office Furniture. 

As we explore the evolution of the office planning models by focusing on key influencers of trends, we begin to identify consistencies in trend markers. Starting with the 1960s Burolandschaft’s drive to encourage social interaction and human behavior, the resulting lack of privacy which drove to the development of the “cube” to provide personal freedom led to a feeling of isolation. Moving forward to the start-up culture of the 2000s and technology that allowed work to be anywhere, the objectives of design shifted to incorporate collaboration, individual work, and speed of change. Throughout these transitions, generational difference, social issues of work/life balance, recruitment and retention of valuable skilled employees, and the impact of health and wellness all remained the consistencies that drove our need to better design with innovation.

Today, the impetus behind that innovation is the blurring lines between home and work. The answer? Resimercial design; a somewhat overused term that defines the incorporation of the residential look to a commercial space. As companies look to make workspaces a more inviting place for employees to get work done, we’re seeing elements of residential and hospitality design splashed across design boards and requested by clients. We know that we want a more comfortable feel for the office environment and we have a fairly keen understanding of what that looks like. But have we really taken a step back to look at the measurements of this new movement? Is it having a positive impact on our working life? How have companies that implemented it benefited? And what does resimercial design really mean?

Image courtesy of National Office Furniture.

Earlier this year, National Office Furniture, a leader in the contract office furniture market, commissioned Contract Consulting Group (CCG) to conduct a study on these very questions. As Angie Schuch, Director of Marketing explained, “We saw the resimercial trend not as a trend, but as a new way to view the entire office environment of the future. As employees look to make their working atmosphere a more comfortable extension of their home environment, making the workplace feel more like home is a logical solution. As such, we feel the design elements are here to stay, evolve, and mark its place in history. But we’ve found that today’s data is all anecdotal. We want to measure it for our own benefit but also to share what we have learned to drive industry adaptation.”

Image courtesy of National Office Furniture.

To gather these numbers, CCG conducted a survey of 250 A&D professionals as well as extensive interviews with key influencers in and around the design industry to gain a pulse on the industry’s thoughts on the matter. While the full results of the survey will be available through National’s Continuing Education Unit (CEU) on the topic, scheduled to be released mid-2018, the company shares a few key takeaways from the survey with us today.

As millennials and Gen Zers are owning and dominating new young companies, they want different working environments that reflect the realities of their work lives.

In the case of resimercial design, the driving factor is the desire to bring the comforts of home into the working environment. In fact, the survey revealed that one third of all projects are now incorporating a more casual feel. This drive comes largely from the younger generation of workers who grow up with the notion that work can happen anywhere, anytime, due to technology that simply wasn’t available for previous generations. However, with that “always-on” mentality comes the idea that the actual workplace must also include elements conducive for relaxation.

Image courtesy of National Office Furniture.

These realities include the ability to express ourselves through either entrepreneurial or personal branding. This includes a flexible variety of spaces supporting the role of technology that allows them to work. From work spaces allowing face-to-face collaboration to enclosed spaces providing the ability to do “heads down” focused work, spaces must flex to the way each individual works and rejuvenates best. Perhaps Sally Augustin put it best in saying, “It [resimercial design principles] first appeared in Dot Com offices with younger employees who did not have a strongly attached home identity. They were 20 somethings out of college and didn’t have the responsibilities such as a partner or children to drive them away from the office to home. So they were spending long hours at the office, and it became natural that they would hang out with people in their workplace after they are technically done with their work day. There was naturally a blending of the workplace and home because there was not something driving them to go home to the place they slept. Therefore, the office became a replacement for the home.” Through this transition, resimercial design began to empower employees to not just choose an employer, but more importantly a lifestyle in which you will spend your time.

The benefits are tangible. And impactful.

During the survey, it was revealed that the top three drivers of a casual workplace interior include the attraction and retention of employees, a more advantageous work/life balance and increased wellness. And what’s more, 94 percent of respondents said these design principles are here to stay. Perhaps it’s because people are spending more time at work, resulting in the desire to create a more comfortable atmosphere. Or perhaps it’s because we are realizing that, to attract great talent, we must not overlook the power of atmosphere. Either way, it’s clear that the tangible benefits of resimercial design are driving its demand.

Image courtesy of National Office Furniture.

Understanding of the trend helps define the gaps we’re currently not addressing.

While National cannot share all the results from its study before the release of its CEU, Schuch leaves us with this helpful insight, “I think designers will find great value in the insights this data has provided. Our research helps reinforce the importance of the specification, proving to us that the selection process goes beyond finishes and fabrics and reinforces the importance of the role of the designer. What’s more, we now have visibility into what we are NOT able to provide the design community, and we have the opportunity to expand our offerings to address the void.”

Interested in learning more of the details behind this study, including how the results can help influence your specification? Reach out to design@nationalofficefurniture.com to schedule your CEU or come see new products influenced by this research at the Chicago Show 2018. Or contact CCG to learn how you can curate similar research to help expand your companies view on industry trends.

Please take a few moments to share your thoughts on “resimercial” design: 

Do you see the blend of residential and traditional office furnishings as a long term trend?

How are you sourcing these products? (Check all that apply)

Many feel that the term "resimercial" simply does not capture the true essence of the design principle. What word would you suggest to replace it?

4 Comments

  • I love how you address that the work environment is constantly evolving, and that having some comforts of home at work is appealing to the young business leaders of today who are constantly on the go.

    • alexisramos says:

      We appreciate your comment, Elena! As young business leaders become more prominent in today’s world, it’s essential for the workplace to evolve in a way that will cater to their needs for success.

  • S. Burns - St. Louis says:

    As a furniture dealer it is exciting to have these types of projects. The word is out and most of my clients incorporate this in their planning efforts whether your a technology group or wealth management company.

    Helping decision makers across all markets see the importance of employee-centric planning is so refreshing! For many years, clients have been influenced by concepts that are one size fits most and taking into consideration the “HUMAN” side is going to catapult creativity and output. Looking forward to the research:)

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