Simple changes we can expect to see in workplace environments
Thursday, October 18, 2018
The death of the cubicle may have been long-predicted, but it seems its demise is getting closer. The workspace continues to change, and rather than cubing employees, efforts are being made to make work environments more open, livelier and more technologically savvy.
Traditional workspaces, if not dying, are evolving dramatically, driven by the wants and desires of younger employees — millennials and Generation Z — who are dramatically influencing office design.
Clutter, too, is out, and more organizations are customizing spaces and going for open floorplans. Thus, space designers are moving to incorporate preferences of workers and developing workspaces that are fluid.
What else are we going to see in the near term in regard to office design? A number of major changes from the way many of us have spent our careers working.
In addition to removing box cubicles, we’ll continue to see the bringing together of employers under open and light-filled rooms that often bear a personal touch.
Likewise, the number of shared spaces grows because co-working spaces are becoming more accessible with apps like Croissant or Desk.Works, making the nearest co-working space one click away. Additionally, per Commercial Property Executive, "it has been shown that working together with similar people and on similar tasks makes one happier more engaged."
When the need for privacy is required, spaces are being designed that allow for separate areas suited for a particular work type. Teams can adapt the allocated zones to their needs and projects, which increase productivity and engagement. Because of this flexibility, even remote work is likely on the decline. To accommodate this change in workforce, facilities are being designed with touches of "home."
For example, companies are offering areas with elements inspired by bars, pubs, coffee shops, video games and warehouses. In the same vein, companies are offering wellness options to their employees, integrating fitness centers, pools, saunas and spas. Perks like free gym memberships, on-site health bars, or kitchens equipped with organic food and coffee are being made available.
Office space are also becoming greener, as plants and bits of nature are brought in. For example, cubicle walls are being replaced by green dividers and some have even begun to incorporate moss-coverings for the walls. When paint is used, natural palettes of earthly tones and textures are being sought.
In regard to technology, the size of devices is shrinking and becoming more personal. There’s less need for space-consuming technology — big computers have been replaced by personal laptops. Keyboards, mice and headsets have become wireless. Tablets, smartboards and smartphones allow employees to move around freely and be constantly connected.
Previously, office layouts were simply created based on being able to house employees to do the jobs in which they were hired. This often meant closed office spaces, rows of cubicles, brash tube-powered fluorescent lighting and other non-plush features for the employees.
Now, though, employees play a much more important part in creating workspaces that meet their needs and encourage their creativity.
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