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Feel at home at the office – is ‘domesticated’ design the future of the workplace?


With 65 per cent of Australians spending more than 40 hours in the workplace, leading interior design and architectural agency, Futurespace has designed new ‘domesticated’ offices for RSM Australia and StatePlus that challenge the concept of the corporate office and coming to work.

Angela Ferguson, Managing Director of Futurespace said, “A domesticated workplace does not just have a few elements of the home, but instead is a total integration of domestic features and transforming the whole office into a relaxing, home-styled retreat.”

“To implement this, ergonomics needs to be one of the most important considerations – residential furniture is usually designed for lounging and not sitting upright working on laptops or other devices,” she explained.

“The quality of residential furniture is often not quite up to commercial standards and these are important considerations when designing a workplace in a more residential way.  An intelligent, ergonomic blend of home and work is really important.”

How is this trend impacting the workplace?

“Workplace well-being is a growing trend. When a company fully integrates a ‘domesticated’ workplace with high levels of social interaction, opportunities to relax, and amenities to eat and exercise, the increased rates of productivity, retention and satisfaction are exponential,” Ferguson explains.

“A domesticated workplace also reflects the strong relationships made in the office. We’ve all heard the phrases ‘work wife/husband’ and ‘work family’, and more recently there is a real desire for the workplace to reflect these connections by creating a domestic or residential environment.”

But if the workplace is too comfortable won’t people relax too much and lose focus? Well, the folks over at Futurespace have found the opposite to be the case.

If staff are less stressed then they perform better and a more residential, domestic ‘homely’ workplace goes a long way towards achieving this.

Who has ‘domesticated’ their offices?

The new RSM Australia office at 60 Castlereagh Street in Sydney which will accommodate 145 employees, and is in a space of 2342 square metres.

RSM Australia office by Futurespace
RSM Australia office by Futurespace

Ferguson said, “For the RSM Australia office in Sydney, it was about creating an office that reflected the social but hard working office culture, to break up the silos that had formed between departments and to create a more flexible space with a great social vibe.”

“We accomplished this with many design elements of domestication like having a large open planned kitchen with a large bench to support the organisation’s ‘family’ style gatherings, lots of indoor greenery with vertical gardens and green walls, as well as lots of reading nooks and breakaway spaces to get away from the hustle of the office,” she added.

On the other hand, the new StatePlus office in Canberra’s Nishi Building is designed to align the physical space with the company’s culture and give its 23 employees, who spend most of their time working in the office, a choice of spaces to work in.

“The StatePlus office is designed around an open central atrium that brings an enormous amount of light into the building and makes for a great meeting place for the ‘family’ of employees.”

StatePlus office by Futurespace
StatePlus office by Futurespace

“The office has a comfortable and residential feel while skill being professional and ergonomic. It was important to provide a variety of spaces for employee to work in, including team, private, informal and collaborative spaces, as well as a large residential-style kitchen where employees could dine together.”

The RSM Australia and StatePlus offices are just two examples of Futurespace’s futurist interior and architectural workplace designs with clients including Google, PwC, JLL, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft.