Why offices are starting to look more like homes

Those I interviewed said that resimercial design emerged as a trend in offices in the mid-2010s, and that it gained broad popularity near the end of the decade. Employers that favor it hope that a more charming and comfortable physical space might help attract talented workers and help their employees do better work. (This style of design can’t be deployed in many non-office workplaces, though some businesses, such as coffee shops and retail stores, have made spaces homier for the sake of customers.)

Engels noted that at home, for instance, people can improvisationally move furniture based on their moment-to-moment needs. She suggested that bringing this dynamic to an office setting, where furniture has typically been heavy and hard to move, can allow workers to modify their environment and better collaborate.

Domestic spaces also provide some inspiration for solo office work. “In your home, you have the comfort of choosing whatever you need—you can work from the couch, you can work from your bed, you can work by a window where you have great light,” Alejandra Albarran, the vice president of workplace strategy and design at Room, a company that makes enclosed soundproof spaces for offices, told me. Offering people the same spatial variety at work might be helpfully stimulating.