It is not possible to outline the next generation of workspaces until we start creating them, however there are key factors which will undoubtedly dictate the look and feel of those spaces and which can influence the workspace of today.
The concept of the office is changing rapidly towards becoming a hybrid of physical and digital spaces. What can you do to ensure your current workplace is future proofed?
The focus now is more about wellbeing in the office, the concept being that happy people make for a happy workplace, thereby being more productive. We now know that buildings affect people. The future of work and the future of talent attraction depends on creating a memorable experience for employees because people have come to expect a certain level of amenities and services.
Despite the millennial generation of Google and Facebook campus compounds, wellbeing will look less like ping pong tables and free donuts, and more like having the right tools to exercise mental and physical agility. In other words, spaces that set employees up for professional success will outweigh the amenity packed ‘fun’ offices of yesterday.
Technology and connectivity will be even more important to future workspaces than they are to current ones. To future-proof their office, SMEs need to consider how the physical space performs and integrates with digital activities. The first digitally native generation is beginning to enter the workforce, and their inherent digital connectivity is already shaping the way we communicate.
For SMEs, this means laying the groundwork for greater discussion and collaboration such as introducing tools such as Prezi, Slack and Google Drive to enable employees to share ideas smoothly and collaborate freely. These tools will not only make the office of the future more efficient – they’ll encourage and enable creativity, making the office a better, more enjoyable place to work.
Tomorrow’s workplace will have to be sustainable to attract and retain younger generations of environmentally aware talent.In the near-future, regulation will also mean sustainability becomes a top business priority. For those companies who want to stay ahead of the curve, sustainability should already be incorporated into core business strategies, aligning themselves with future laws and producing economic, environmental and social benefits.
A stronger focus is required on workspace planning and constructing efficient buildings that are well insulated so they retain heat in the winter, and well ventilated so they cool the office in summer without much need for air-conditioning, reduces both carbon footprints and overheads, particularly in the long-term. Indeed, research conducted by M Moser found that well-planned offices can achieve energy savings of between 20% and 40%.
Companies will also need to think about sustainability to maintain a productive workforce. The millennial generation demands an open, light and natural environment that gives them the support necessary to flourish and take pride in their role.
Meeting Rooms and Social Spaces
Future workspaces will have to be adaptable as change is accelerating and success is rapidly becoming linked to a company’s ability to accommodate that change. Private offices will need to incorporate elements of coworking spaces with movable furniture and impromptu meeting spaces.
Offices traditionally have two types of areas where workers meet: informal spaces like the kitchen or cafeteria where conversations happen and departmental siloes break down, and formal spaces, such as dedicated meeting rooms and boardrooms for serious discussions.
In the future, we can expect more ad-hoc social spaces designed to encourage interaction and provide more opportunities to engage with colleagues outside their immediate teams, as well as the use of IoT data to track how workers use the building.