Rooms & Workspaces Partnerships

Tips from the pros: how to design for the modern workplace

3 min read

Updated on May 27, 2024

Published on April 29, 2024

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Coffee shops were once the defining image of hybrid work; as they gave employees a chance to break away from cubicles and conference rooms and enjoy a change of scenery. With just a latte and a laptop, we proved it was possible to work from practically anywhere. 

Today, hybrid work has moved beyond coffeehouses, evolving into flexible workspaces that mimic the comforts of home with the technology-first experience employees crave. This shift toward “resimmercial” design was on full display at a recent Architectural Digest (AD) PRO workshop, “How to Design for the Modern Workplace,” which centered on the role of Zoom technology and design in the modern workplace. 

Zoom partnered with AD PRO in late 2023 to host a panel discussion on our virtual events platform, Zoom Events. Three design firms came together with AD PRO editor Mel Studach to discuss the evolution of interior design in the workplace and showcase their vision for future office spaces through unique renderings of Zoom Rooms.  

The design firms represented included: 

  • Artisan, featuring Dani Arps, co-CEO and head of design 
  • Ishka Designs, featuring Niya Bascom, creative director and Anishka Clarke, interior design director
  • Project AZ, featuring Ahmad AbouZanat, founder 

Creating offices that excite and inspire employees

While each designer had a unique approach to creating a modern conference or meeting space, there were a few themes that seemed omnipresent such as flexibility, reliable technology, and comfortable yet productive spaces. To make employees excited about returning to the office, the designers reimagined spaces for quiet, heads-down work, meetings and collaboration, and small group discussions. Here are some of their ideas on how to integrate technology into a functional, inviting space that would maximize productivity without sacrificing style and comfort. 

Bring the feeling of home to the office

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“Clients want a space they can work and meet in but also potentially host a dinner party. So this idea was approached as a dining room that also functions as a conference room,” Dani said. 

Dani incorporated design elements that one might find in their home and added a layer of office functionality. Wanting to make the technology components feel intentional rather than an afterthought, Dani envisioned a salon wall where the cameras blended in and flat-panel screens could display presentations or digital art that matched the room’s decor when not in use. 

She also wanted to ensure the lighting would be sufficient for Zoom Meetings and the shape and orientation of the table would be conducive to both virtual and in-person events. 

“The layout and way that the chairs wrap around the table was also top of mind. I wanted it to feel intentional as though the screens are your colleagues that sit across from you at the table,” she said.  

Dani’s approach to designing hybrid workspaces is centered on flexible, modular environments that embrace technology and help balance their schedules between focus time and collaborative work with others. 

“Technology really is at the forefront, and having technology that focuses on making that balance viable and functional is the biggest change in today’s corporate office design,” she said.

Performance art that enhances meeting performance

Having used Zoom “religiously” during and after the pandemic, the team at Ishka Designs wanted to create a space that would infuse Zoom technology throughout the room but not limit it to just the indoors. They created an indoor-outdoor pavilion space meant to facilitate workshops for theater productions in various stages of development. 

“The idea behind our design is thinking about distance learning and bringing teams from all over the world into the same room,” Niya said. “We wanted to integrate Zoom technology into the room’s settings and wanted somewhere that felt like a great inspirational space.” 

Ishka Designs Zoom Rooms

Envisioning the space for performers, Niya and Anishka created a place where actors could perform in person or practice scenes with others in another pavilion, sharing a screen. The design team also focused on the natural elements surrounding the space to provide attendees with a deeper understanding of the creative process that takes place indoors. 

“There was a lot of focus on the healing aspects even outside of the design, with mint and lavender creating a beautiful sensory experience when you enter the room,” Anishka said. 

Inside, the pavilion integrates an array of technology, including cameras, video screens, microphones, and speakers, as well as lighting control panels built into the podium and a room scheduler outside the room. 

The Zoom Rooms space also includes impressive millwork meant to hide TV screens or monitors and cameras that can operate individually to not be on display at all times. The use of modular furniture allows users to reposition and reorganize the room to their liking, while a break in the floor is designed to create a theater or stage. 

“You can change it to be optimal for readings, viewings, or whatever you’re doing in the space,” Niya said. “We’re taking advantage of what a space could be and pushing the envelope for further thinking.” 

Elevating the pod experience

Having designed home offices in residential spaces in addition to corporate offices, Ahmad has seen hybrid work shift toward semi-private, individual offices for virtual calls and smaller meetings. With this in mind, he wanted to design a small meeting space that would easily integrate Zoom technology and elevate the corporate pod experience. 

Zoom Rooms AZ Pro

“I wanted to take the most corporate element that’s out there now, and take it to the next level from a design perspective,” Ahmad said. 

He approached his Zoom Rooms design by breaking down the traditional meeting room environment and rebuilding it with exterior architectural elements and modern features that would add comfort and automation to virtual meetings. Drawing inspiration from his residential designs, Ahmad created a sleek, yet flexible room known as the “Convo Cube.” 

“I used polished black nickel and walnut, and instead of doing felt panels, we did upholstery walls, giving it that residential feeling,” he said. “I wanted to have this small unit within the space that feels more homey, comfortable, and inviting.” 

The exterior access panel enables users to simultaneously unlock the pod, turn on the ceiling light panel, and activate the monitor for Zoom Meetings. An integrated sliding table provides added space without having to juggle laptops and cords. To mimic his residential designs, Ahmad’s design welcomes users into the pod with a reflective, chic exterior, detached glass ceiling, and a slanted roof inside the ceiling treatment.

Reimagine hybrid work with Zoom Rooms

Hybrid work is no longer the future of work; it’s a necessity for businesses to retain and attract top talent and promote productivity from anywhere. These designs are just the beginning of what’s possible with hybrid work design. Zoom Rooms can help you evolve your own office environment into a workspace that’s equipped for flexibility, productivity, and scalability. 

Thank you to AD PRO and the designers for sharing their vision of the future. To get started building your own hybrid workspace, learn more about our Zoom Rooms pricing and plans.

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