From coffee corner to work lounge

Our offices were radically changing even before the pandemic. From traditional desks to a softer, more varied and homelike interior design. Our workplaces have evolved into more than just somewhere we go to work. And the work lounge has emerged as a vital space in the modern office.

It starts in the entrance, the first impression and the feel of the office. Anyone who steps in should immediately get an idea of the organisation's vision and brand. Here, the interior design solution should contribute to everyone feeling welcomed and included, and it should be clear how to navigate further in the office. The experience is enhanced by a carefully considered colour scheme, music, and possibly the scent of freshly brewed coffee and fresh flowers.
 
The entrance can also be extended into a work lounge, similar to a hotel lobby. The entrance together with the work lounge has become an increasingly important and identitycarrying space for organisations in the modern office, especially as the struggle for talent intensifies. This is not just about attracting new workers but also about retaining existing ones. The work lounge, which can also be located centrally in the office, best reflects the brand, image and values of the organisation.
 
It also serves as a creative space for brainstorming, spontaneous chats and collaboration. An informal and relaxed space helps people feel more free to share ideas and think outside the box. This naturally encourages innovative solutions and increased creativity. The space evolves into so much more than just a passageway – it becomes a vibrant, energising and social hub where you can wait, meet, network, enjoy a coffee or work. The organisation’s culture flourishes here. 

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Vagabond project table with Motus stool on castors make the ideal place for a short work meeting, while high-back Fields armchairs create room-in-room privacy for conversations. Cone with Mr T stool offers an accessible place to either stand or sit.

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Launched in 2016, Kinnarps’ Fields modular system was a direct response to the growing trend for homelike office spaces.

The interior design in the work lounge has a great impact on how the space is perceived and what it invites. In order to achieve dynamism and functionality for a wide range of activities, you need variation in the heights of seating furniture and tables. Sofas and other lounge furniture should preferably have a slightly higher seat height (45cm) and a somewhat firmer seat, enabling you to sit more actively yet still comfortably and relaxed. Higher tables with stools make it easy to sit down to work on your laptop for a while. Tables and the bases of lounge furniture can be fitted with the all-important power sockets for charging various devices. A longer table in a larger size can be a central feature in a work lounge, offering plenty of room so you can choose a seat as close to or as far from the people already sitting there. A long and deep table divided in the middle with acoustic screens or plants, and equipped with multiple power sockets, creates the feel of personal space in a group setting.
 
The work lounge may vary in size, but as it tends to be a larger area, it will be particularly important to think about furnishing for good acoustics. Partition screens on castors can both absorb sound and act as room dividers to create a calmer space with less visual impressions. Sofas or armchairs with high backs placed opposite each other create natural room-in-rooms where you can chat to a colleague, while contributing to a good acoustic environment. Generally speaking, upholstered furniture always helps to improve the acoustics.
 
Indoor plants are another important feature, not only because they enhance well-being but also because their foliage diffuses sound, thereby creating a pleasanter acoustic environment.  Plant storage units are also a good way to partition off part of the work lounge and place desks for individual work.
 
With the right technology and flexible interior design, the work lounge can also be transformed into the ideal place for larger presentations and events, a smart way to optimise office space. With larger conference rooms and auditoriums largely phased out of modern offices, you still need somewhere to hold presentations for a large audience. The work lounge can be a good alternative! Stackable stools and tables on castors that are easy to move in and out of storage, and drop-down technology are just a few of the features that make this possible.

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Data from Kinnarps’ Next Office® workplace analysis shows that the work lounge is one of the three most in-demand spaces in modern offices, alongside separate workstations for high focus and small meeting spaces.

3x tables for work lounges

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Sumo

Range of tables
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Nexus

Range of tables

34 Colours and materials | 22 Variants

Hal

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Height-adjustable range of tables

“A well-functioning work lounge is a place you happily spend time during your working day. It’s where you’re energised and meet colleagues from other departments – it becomes the hub of a workplace.”

Henrik Axell, Head of Workplace Strategy, Kinnarps

More and more organisations are seeing the value in offering places to meet up informally as well. There are many advantages to face-to-face meetings in the workplace. They create engagement, develop relationships and ultimately strengthen the corporate culture. Research* reveals that face-to-face requests are more than 30 times more effective than those sent by email.
 
Although digital communication has come a long way, physical meetings are still crucial for developing relationships, and encouraging problem solving and innovation. In spite of all our technological advances, human beings are inherently social and need companionship. When we meet face-to-face, we can read each other’s body language, and feel connection and empathy in a way that’s difficult to replicate virtually. Small changes in our facial expression, how we use our voice, move our hands and make eye contact all help to get our message across.
 
This trend affects the functionality and design of the office in general. As the importance of physical meetings has become clearer, the focus on social spaces and more homelike office spaces is intensifying. The work lounge is a vibrant space and hub, where you can work alone, discuss with your colleagues in a more informal space, meet colleagues from other departments or just enjoy a cup of coffee. Nevertheless, an office cannot only consist of social areas: spaces for focused, solo work or team collaboration are extremely important. A workplace analysis helps you to map and analyse your activities and needs in order to determine the distribution and size of the spaces in your office.

Would you like help designing a work lounge or other spaces at your office? We’re happy to help you!

Contact your nearest Kinnarps showroom

Sources

* Washington Post – The science of being there.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/hilton/the-science-of-being-there/