The elaborate façade and red sandstone were the cutting edge of style of its time: when Glasgow’s first evening newspaper opened its doors in 1889, it wrote its own headlines.

Beyond its fancy Dutch Renaissance-style exterior – designed by architect T L Watson, who was also behind several of the city’s churches – was a maze of separate departments, sprawling offices and even had space for the huge, rumbling printing presses.

It was one of the first red sandstone buildings in the city; within a couple of years, it would burn brightly as one of Glasgow’s first fully electric buildings.

The Evening Citizen is long gone; however, a recent revamp of the St Vincent Place building’s top four floors has seen it again hailed as at the very cutting edge of modern office design.

Having been rebooted into a series of six separate workplaces - with bland false ceilings removed to expose interesting architectural details, soundproofed booths for video calls, arty references to its former newspaper life and ‘home from home’ comforts - it is said to reflect new demand for a post-pandemic, hybrid style of working in offices that owe more than a little to television’s Grand Designs.

Others see a more balanced way of working: new research from global workplace creation specialists, Unispace, says more than 60% of employees are choosing to work remotely or in a hybrid way.

While most seem to have become used to tumbling out of bed and being at their desks: more than three quarters surveyed said they would like only a five to ten minutes’ commute to the office.

Home comforts are also high on their list: the survey of 3,000 office workers across Europe showed 95% felt their workspace needed to improve to create a more desirable environment, with outdoor spaces to work in, areas for social gatherings, and distinct places to collaborate in or retreat to for quiet space.

It might not go as far as Google office sleep pods and retro games consoles, but Aimee Collins, Unispace Head of Design, says employees want their office to be as comfortable and cosy as their own home.

“They enjoyed elements of remote working during the pandemic and are now looking to their workplace environments for the comforts of home, but, in addition, an experience that enables them to socialise, collaborate, and connect with their colleagues and customers.

“Companies that take the time to understand what amenities their employees are looking for, and deliver on that vision, will be those that are able to leverage their work environments to attract and retain the best talent.”

Sam James, director of commercial interiors specialist Amos Beech, says pressure is now on businesses to adapt quickly to their employees’ new office expectations, or risk seeing them move on.

“It used to be that you would be expected to sit at your desk and stay there until you get promotion, when you’d get a bigger desk and an office of your own,” he says.

“All of a sudden, the floodgates have opened and there are more conversations around ‘employee experience’.

“Particularly post-Brexit, there are a lot of jobs out there and people are moving without difficulty if they feel their way of work doesn’t suit their personal needs.

“Employers are having to consider this, both with workspace and with rules of work - or the lack of rules.”

New office spaces need to reflect this new agile landscape and offer a more ‘homely’ experience, he adds.

“This is about being in an office space with different options depending on what work you are doing. You might have quiet concentration space or collaboration space, booths or noisy space.

“If you’re at home and want breakfast, you don’t sit at the dining table, you go to the kitchen to make it – you move around.

“It’s about the office having the same feel as your home, where you can sit in the garden if the sun is shining and do your work or head to the local coffee shop if you’d rather work there.

“The office needs to be a space you want to exist in and want to be in, that makes you feel good, with a good vibe so it’s not a chore to go to the office.”

One recent Amos Beech project for Glasgow digital marketing agency Boyd’s Bath Street base was specifically designed to reflect the impact on returning workers after months spent working at home.

Its key feature is a large table tennis table, designed by artist Roddy MacNeill, navy blue walls and – a change from the kind of white tiled suspended ceiling found in most office accommodation – navy blue ceiling and neon lights.

While another, for Livingston-based technology company, Impact Solutions, could just as easily be an Ikea showroom setting, with open shelves as room dividers, padded bar stools and funky walls.

Rebooting the office so it looks more like home, however, might not work for everyone, he stresses: “Google spent enormous amounts of money understanding the demographic of their workforce and providing the environment that suits that person with sleep pods and breakout spaces.

“But some businesses who have done that without the research have ended up with a bit of a mess.

“They have staff who don’t need a sleep pod, who are looking around saying ‘why do we have this?’. All they want is a desk and a chair and they’re happy.

“Someone who works in the banking industry is in a different place from someone who writes software for Google.”

However, he adds, many employees have become more style conscious which means they have higher expectations: “Because of television programmes like Grand Designs, people have become spotters of good and bad interior design.

“If they don’t like the space they are coming to work in, they will look for another job.”

Mark Alcorn, Managing Director of Glasgow-based corporate interior design company C2:concepts, which is behind the former Evening Citizen building’s interior revamp, agrees: “People are looking for something different.”

One trend is teasing out historical features of buildings to help employees feel part of a bigger picture: the Citizen building includes original art that references the building’s two exterior clock faces and its place in Glasgow's newspaper history.

“It has character and personality which is valuable; you’re not just sitting in a box, starting at a magnolia wall,” he adds.

“We are now finding that a lot of business are desperate to come back to office space - a lot of people have found that there are quite a lot of negatives to working from home.”

A compromise is ‘resimercial’ design, which merges the relaxed environment of the home with the benefits that can come from being around colleagues in an office.

“There’s a move towards a ‘residential-hospitality’ feel – like a hotel. Clients are asking for offices that look more like that rather than rows and rows of desks.”

Inspired by retail settings, office designers are whipping away dreary suspended ceilings which hide pipes and lighting systems, to expose them in creative ways, he adds.

Likewise, magnolia walls are disappearing - sometimes replaced by ‘living’ walls of moss and plants – while ticking environmental boxes is high on the list, with solar panels, trees planted to offset carbon and rooftop beehives.

Alex Mackay, Glasgow-based senior surveyor at commercial property specialists JLL, says the signs are good for a return to office working: “We are seeing a real focus on sustainable tech or amenities focussed on employee wellbeing.

“From solar panels on roofs to relaxation rooms for staff to unwind, workspaces are evolving rapidly, something I think will only continue over the near future.

“We know there are challenges ahead in the wider economy but if we continue listening and reacting to demand, we can continue to create some world-class spaces that will help to attract and retain talent while we work towards a greener future for Scotland’s real estate.”