Every once in a while it is good to check in with the current design trends and see what is on the horizon.
The US software company, Citrix, released a report recently forecasting that in 2017 half of companies may have a mobile working policy and within a few years after that in 2020, three-quarters of employees may work off-site as often as they worked in the office.
What are the reasons for this?
Money. Office space is expensive. Companies are realising that not all work needs to be done in the office.
Does that mean that offices will disappear?
It’s unlikely – There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in an office setting where people can collaborate and create. However, employees are demanding more of a work-life balance.
In response, companies are trying to make the office a more appealing place to spend the typical 8 hour work day. The office space of the future is evolving to meet these needs.
The Future Work Zone
Going to work may no longer be about where you go, but what you do, and, if what you do can be done on a computer, then where you work from is far more flexible. Employees’ quality of life may improve as more companies make the switch to flexible working, which at the same time can save the company money!
Imagine this scenario – In the future the work week might be 3 days instead of 5 days and towns will have communal office buildings that residents will use to cut down on travel and traffic. Thus giving people more time at home and less time in their cars or on The Tube.
The workforce may also evolve into a person having a few part time jobs instead of one full time job. However, company benefits for part time employees will probably have to be comparable to working full time in order for this concept to work.
Office Desks of the Future
At Citrix’s London headquarters, the offices are set up with “genius benches” which are long shared desks (imagine the Great Hall in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films) that are higher than the standard desk with high stools for which to sit and work.
The New York marketing firm, Barbarian Group, has created a “super desk” that seats 170 people with small rooms off to the side for small meeting areas.
This is also know as “activity-based desking” based on an employees work on a particular day. Lego’s offices in Singapore and London there are no assigned desks for employees or managers. The office is divided into flexible work zones according to environment.
There are a few quiet zones like a library, social areas where talking is allowed, and areas with big desks for collaborating.
Google and Mindvalley are two more companies who are known for their modern and ingenious office designs.
These type of desks can be moved around the office and used individually or pieced together like a puzzle for collaborating.
What Will Make the Office of the Future Healthier?
As with everything else, technological advances will help make office environments healthier.
With smart phones and smart televisions, there are Smart Buildings that are more energy efficient.
Buildings are being designed and engineered to allow for the ideal
amount of daylight using the appropriate mix of windows to solid walls. There are also wood-fibre bricks made of wood by-products that are more environmentally-friendly than cement bricks.
Smart lighting has sensors to adjust the office temperature based on number of people in the building. Geo-thermal systems use water to regulate the air temperature instead of air conditioning and heaters.
The work world is certainly changing.
We at Paradigm would like to help your company’s office evolve into a workplace of the future. By doing so, you can improve employee moral, retain your talented workforce, and attract the best and brightest people into your company.
Contact us for a consultation to discuss your current office space and what you would like to create.