Resimercial Movement: Real and Here to Stay

The resimercial workplace of the future is likely to look more like this than the open office or cubicle farm. Photo: Iva Balk/Pixabay

I have always wanted to start a blog post this way. “Don’t you hate it when…”

Don’t you hate it when people smash two words together to make another new word? It’s lazy. The words are always awkward. Athleisure. Brangelina. Resimercial.

The resimercial workplace of the future is likely to look more like this than the open office or cubicle farm. Photo: Iva Balk/Pixabay

The resimercial workplace of the future is likely to look more like this than the open office or cubicle farm. Photo: Iva Balk/Pixabay

You probably know the first two words, but I bet “resimercial” is new to you. Resimercial is catching hold and it looks like it’s going to stick just like athleisure for a lot of the same reasons. It’s comfortable, and it fits. FYI: for those who don’t know it, “athleisure” is traditional athletic clothing like yoga pants which are now acceptable leisure wear. Athlectic + leisure wear = athleisure. Get it?

Resimercial is a combination of the words “residential” and “commercial.” This is a term created in the architect, engineering, and design community to describe the introduction of residential design elements into commercial spaces like offices. The results create a more home-like, comforting and cozy environment in the workplace for employees. In theory, it’s a place people want to spend more time in and be more engaged with their co-workers, partly because we lose sight of the fact we’re at the office.

Work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do, in the minds of many younger employees. When they do go to a place, they want it to look like a coffeehouse. Photo: Stocksnap

Work is no longer a place you go, but a thing you do, in the minds of many younger employees. When they do go to a place, they want it to look like a coffeehouse. Photo: Stocksnap

This is becoming more important as millennial and Gen Z generation employees become the majority in the workplace. In its 2013 PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) two-year global generational study in conjunction with the University of Southern California and the London Business School, for millennial and GenZ employees (those born after 1980), work is a “thing,” not a “place.” Work is something you do, not a place where you go. These workers now make up 80% of the workforce.

Offices are now competing with the work from home option but also the coworking model. When people can get their work done anywhere, it’s tempting to find a place to do it that suits you better.

But a variety of current “what happens after COVID-19” surveys also show while people like the option of working from home, they also want to return to the office part of the week. The thing they miss most? Their co-workers.

Our project for Illumina is an example of a modern resimercial workplace that embraces healthy biophilic design with lots of light, fresh air, and plants. Photo: Jim Mumford resimerical design

Our project for Illumina is an example of a modern resimercial workplace that embraces healthy biophilic design with lots of light, fresh air, and plants. Photo: Jim Mumford

American business must embrace workplace design that supports both personal health and a cohesive culture to remain competitive and to retain its top talent. Warmer, more welcoming offices encouraging collaboration will be important. The resimercial movement that started emerging a few years ago before the pandemic could show us the way.

What would a resimercial designed office look like?

Think cozy, charming, and friendly. Think comfortable and not at all hard or fussy. More light, more color, more choices – and more greenery.

Hallmarks of the resimercial office: Cozy furniture, color, and plants. Photo: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay

Hallmarks of the resimercial office: Cozy furniture, color, and plants. Photo: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay

Lose the hard office furniture. Comfortable sofas and chairs give people a place they actually enjoy sitting. Allow people to get together, develop relationships, collaborate, and create new ideas.

Give people options. Create different types of spaces, like you might have in home: a study, a kitchen, a game room, and a family room. Do you want to sit at a communal long table with your laptop working with other people? Do you want a quiet spot in a warm corner on the couch? Do you need some privacy? Would you rather work outside, or with a view of nature? Just like in your home or in a coworking space – or even in a coffee shop or hotel – there are many choices depending on your individual needs.

Finally – and the most important to us at Good Earth Plant Company – lots of natural elements including plants. We know from biophilic design principles people are healthier, more productive, and less stressed when their working environment has a generous amount of greenery. And with the current plant ownership craze, having plants at work makes people feel more at home.

Greenery in the workplace doesn't need to be massive to be effective - like our living art displays. Photo: Joe Benedetti

Greenery in the workplace doesn’t need to be massive to be effective – like our living art displays. Photo: Joe Benedetti

Plants in a lobby or at entrances invite people inside and encourage them to stay. Large container plants can be grouped to help direct foot traffic and create safe distance between spaces. Dividers made of living wall or moss walls can be permanently installed or placed on wheels to act as mobile barriers.

Wouldn’t you agree these are much nicer looking than old school barriers or cubicle walls? They are also much better for the planet to avoid using so many manufactured materials.

Mobile living walls are so much friendly than plastic or plexiglass barriers.

Plants in collaborative spaces are among the most cost-efficient ways to soften a space. They also raise indoor humidity allowing people breathe more comfortably, and may even stop the aerosol spread of viruses. (No science claims here but there are a lot of promising studies about humidity).

Plants in restrooms and break rooms help fill spaces and allow people to decompress and restore themselves. We can’t help showing off one of our most creative examples: moss walls in the restrooms at San Diego’s Paladion office building.

We can't help showing off the moss walls Good Earth Plant Company created for the Paladion complex restrooms. resimercial

We can’t help showing off the moss walls Good Earth Plant Company created for the Paladion complex restrooms. Photo: Jim Mumford

But not all greenery has to be BIG. Resimercial means thinking about the smaller touches, too. Terrariums and dish gardens are making a big comeback. They add a chill vibe straight out of the 1970s – and I would know!

Also very popular are containers with legs, or set on decorative stands. We saw lots of them at last year’s Tropical Plants International Expo (TPIE) 2020 show. Just look through your favorite home good store, you’ll find lots of them. These look equally good in your office as in your home.

Plant stands are hot and so are container collections like this one. Photo: Jim Mumford

Plant stands are hot and so are container collections like this one. Photo: Jim Mumford

Even the smallest office spaces can benefit from the resimercial approach. It’s a lot easier to transform a drab little footprint to a cozy place everyone thrives in with a small investment in greenery.

During the work from home experience, many people brought new indoor plants home. Provide them the same comfort with their own desk plants. It’s best not to allow people to bring plants from home, as they might inadvertently bring in pests or disease. Next thing you know, you’ll be reading our advice on getting rid of fungus gnats.

If you are feeling ambitious, the larger size of many workspaces allows you to make a big statement with a living wall or moss wall. Good Earth Plant Company would love to create one for you – contact us and let’s talk about your options!

There is some resistance to the resimercial concept, but I don’t really understand why. It shouldn’t matter where a good design idea comes from if it improves the user experience. We might not love the actual term ‘resimercial’ but our clients are enthusiastic about this legitimate trend in office design, and we’re just as enthusiastic about bringing it to life.