Let’s be honest: most of us want to spend as little time as possible at our workplaces. Even if you’re lucky enough to love your job, get along with all your co-workers, and enjoy a great relationship with your boss, you probably still count down the minutes until you can go home. Home is much more comfortable, after all. You get to trade fluorescent lighting, cubicles, toxic materials off-gassing chemicals into the stale air, and uncomfortable seating for soft surfaces, privacy, and a warm, welcoming vibe. But what if your office looked and felt just like a private home, complete with cozy living rooms and well-stocked kitchens?
The new home of Reaktor, a digital product company based in Helsinki, Finland, breaks the office paradigm with a series of home-like interiors designed to put employees at ease, boost productivity, and inspire creative thinking. Instead of harping on an appearance of professionalism that discourages intimacy, personal expression, and leisure time, these new interiors by design firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co recognize that a). work can be demanding and b). we’re only human. Doesn’t it seem logical that adapting to our needs by facilitating comfort, pleasant environments, rejuvenation, and casual low-pressure conversation could be good for a company in the long run?
All of the little rooms the designers have created look like they could be found in a well-furnished modern home. In fact, some of them might even be nicer than the employees’ own personal spaces. Large rooms are broken up into smaller seating areas for groups (as small as two or as large as two dozen), and the office’s largest spaces have been set up to feel like dining tables. Multiple luxurious kitchens offer all the comforts of home, houseplants add a sense of vitality, and residential-style lighting goes easy on the eyes.
A cozy “chill zone” full of hammocks and café tables looks out onto a balcony through glazed walls, with views of the city visible just beyond a glass railing. Fittingly for Finland, the office even includes a sauna, where employees can decompress after a stressful day. You could almost forget you’re at work if it weren’t for the fact that you were surrounded by co-workers.
“The design is based on the idea that, above all, the office must provide an inspiring environment for work, which is why it must be easy to adapt and modify it to meet various needs,” the team explains. “The sixth floor can be entirely separated from the work spaces, thereby offering a venue for events and a more informal environment for the employees to enjoy, including two atmospheric saunas.”
“The meeting rooms can be converted into a work space when not otherwise needed, and dividers can be used to transform the space according to what is needed. All the work spaces contain walls that are reserved for drawings, as they can be very useful during, for example, brainstorming meetings. All fixtures on the premises are fully customized for Reaktor’s needs.”
“The basic structure is the same for each floor. A lively piazza is located at the center of the floor, providing employees with a space where they can get together for breakfast, some coffee, lunch, and a good chat. A spiral staircase decorated with house plants connects the piazzas on different floors. The closer you get to the outer walls of the building, the quieter it is.”