Hospitality spaces are being redesigned to cater to digital nomads and shifting workplace dynamics

Research shows that the lines between office and hospitality space are blurring, and Herman Miller is adapting its FF&E offering to provide hotels with a range to suit the new work/life balance, says Chris Morley.

Transition is the current buzz word in interior design. The way space is designed and used is being influenced by a revolution in the way we work, travel and relax.

Hotel guests are spending less time in their room and more time in public spaces, because those places are now being designed for multi-use in an easy, relaxed style. Work and life is blurred as we become more mobile.

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A new generation of mobile workers have traded cubicles for coffee shops, and offices for hotel rooms around the world. As long as these digital nomads have wifi and a laptop, they can get the job done just about anywhere, be it from the pool, beach bar, or a trendy restaurant.

By 2022, more than 40% of the worldwide workforce is expected to be mobile.

In a more connected but less tethered world, the landscape of work is shifting. People want choice in where and how they work and stay connected, especially the growing number of millennials in the workforce.

So spaces must be designed to support their needs and activities, whenever and wherever they need to work.

Herman Miller has interpreted this trend and adapted its product development and marketing accordingly to now provide hotels with ‘everything but the bed’.

Head of design Chris Morley says: “We recognise each person and organisation has their own unique requirements. Like every employee, every space has something to offer. Simply put, a space that addresses the needs of the people who work there will always be more effective than a state-of-the-art workplace that ignores the needs of its occupants.

“That’s why our furniture portfolio offers a variety of tailored solutions. By understanding the design of spaces, we increase the effectiveness of these environments, therefore increasing the productivity of both user and the organisation.

“We provide an important aesthetic to our customers in delivering world class business facilities,” adds Morley. “We bring people together to help businesses succeed. This for the hospitality sector translates into increased revenue, customer loyalty and repeat guests. All in all, a new and more engaging guest experience.”

Guest experience

Leading interior design firms in the region stress that today’s hotel guests are sensitive to good interior design. In addition to liking or not liking the look and feel of a space, they respond to design elements that make them feel comfortable, inspired, happy, relaxed or excited, often without being aware of it. They also expect to find the comforts and conveniences they have at home when they are on the road.

Hoteliers realise that simply adding furnishings is not the same thing as creating a finished look.

Studies show that the three most important impressions guests typically remember about a hotel stay are: the look of the lobby; the feel of their room; and the quality of the customer service. That’s why a hotel must continually and carefully focus considerable attention on all three of these things.

Inspiring designs

Herman Miller works with leading designers to provide purposeful variety in the workplace and offers “a diverse selection of expressive furnishings” from its family of brands.

“Designers can create vibrant settings from our portfolio, and we’re making it easy to bring their vision to life with a consistent and simplified experience through our wide network of dealers,” says Morley.

Distinctive examples of inspiring designs are the Bumper Chair (opposite page) and Landmark Chair (top, right). Both were designed by the legendary Ward Bennett and boast sophistication, craftsmanship and ultimately beauty.

The Striad Lounge Chair, featured on the cover page, was designed with the aim of creating a more casual proposal for today’s work environments. The designer, Jehs+Laub sought a technical solution to balance structure, softness and collaboration.

“Our new collaborative product, the Cloud Desk from naughtone, offers a visual and acoustic haven and the result is a truly satisfying place to sit and concentrate,” promises Morley. “The Cloud Desk integrates seamlessly and is perfect for planning flexible environments.”

Read how office design trends have evolved since the 19th century

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