We know that the nature of work in the modern world is changing.
Workers are telecommuting and virtual meetings are becoming more commonplace than ever before.
This trend is encouraging managers and leadership teams to re-consider the layout of the workplace. Design of work premises around the world is starting to reflect this transition. Whether it is Google, Yahoo or Facebook, organisations are fast realising that communication, productivity and innovation are linked and as such the office space should be set up to cater to achieve the three outcomes.
A new business model
The new business model is defined by smart gadgets, social media, remote communication, cloud-based services, high-definition video and the ever-expanding Internet of Things.
The following four aspects are emerging in terms of the office of the future, which by its their very nature will be dynamic.
- User-mobility and flexibility will become central to the modern organisation with employee engagement at the heart of it all.
- The design of the office of the future will be determined by user preferences, telecommuting being one of the most popular ones.
- The tools we use to complete our work, as well as the nature of our tasks has changed; however, the buildings we work in have not changed at the same pace.
- In the modern world user preferences and style that will determine the work environment. As such it is the profile of the business that will follow the workers instead of the other way around.
How should managers look at space?
The first step is to acknowledge that our caricatures of the next generation workspace may not be the solution. As Harvard Business Review bloggers Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi and Greg Lindsay very aptly put it: "We just take old ideas, put them into a kind of kaleidoscope, and turn".
The office is now characterised by workers who telecommute and meetings that connect staff from varied geographical locations and time zones.
Managers need to take several things into perspective when customising a space to cater to the changing needs of employees. The office is now characterised by workers who telecommute and meetings that connect staff from varied geographical locations and time zones.
Moving forward the office needs to have capacity to collaborate at a global level.
Essentially a concrete model of the ideal working space does not exist, all we know is that it is shaping up to be a highly network-oriented, multipurpose place that is redefining boundaries as we know them.
It will take a lot of trial and error in design to arrive at a solution that truly works.