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The Office of the Future

THE SPACE RACE: Volume II

 Gardens, galleries, gastronomy – does your office have what it takes to keep staff working their magic?

 

The idea of ‘going to work’ is starting to sound like an out-dated concept; ‘work’ is evolving as a thing you do, as opposed to a place you go. According to the Australian tax office, the average hours worked by Australians is declining – but intuition and time spent on devices tells us this is more a reflection of the hours spent in the workplace than the hours spent at work.

Workplaces need to evolve too.The traditional models of cubicles and desks – or even today’s popular hot-desks – simply don’t meet 2020s needs.

European consultancy MoreySmith recently released a report entitled the Workplace Futures Report, in which they identified trends in workplace design. Communal and shared work spaces are more popular amongst the younger demographic, while business owners and senior managers favour open but dedicated space. Digital integration is growing: devices that record our steps and calorie burning are evolving into devices that respond to our emotional state, whether we are tired, aerated, hydrated and even motivated! Integration in the workplace needs to keep pace, allowing the individual to personalise their own physical and digital space.

Google offices around the globe are famously at the head of the pack – Think colourful pods with padded interiors and sound-proofing for meetings, indoor basketball courts, green spaces, and music rooms complete with instruments and turntables. Google’s concepts are extreme, but any business can follow their lead: it’s about making employees at one with their workspace, ensuring they feel they are ‘working’, not simply ‘at work’. Many businesses have embraced this change with the introduction of coworking spaces. We are now seeing a growing trend of larger organisations such as IBM and Microsoft, taking residence in these spaces due to the “resimercial” interiors as well as the flexibility they are offered.

Workforces are of course becoming increasingly diverse, with the age span spreading on well into 60s or even 70s. Meeting the needs of this demographic whilst still attracting and motivating the fickle millennial is a challenge. If nothing else, consider the audio environment – the beats that keep a young person toe-tapping and churning through ideas are exactly those that might alienate the older person who can’t deal with the volume or competing noise.

MoreySmith concluded with three predicted ways that the modern workplace might evolve:

  1. The ‘sentient workplace’ that responds to those that use it;
  2. the ‘hospitality workplace’, which is more like a community hub than an office; and
  3. the ‘flat-age workplace’, which flexibly meets the needs of tomorrow multi-generational workforce.

 

Which one is yours?