Last week, we posted a blog about commercial design trends that are reshaping the workplace of today – an interview with Sarah, workplace strategist at a New York commercial real estate firm.
Sarah gave us so many fantastic insights on what the workplace of the future might look like that we just had to share more of them this week.
Organisational structures are changing, and along with them, the physical work environments. So what are some of the big trends to watch?
In project-based work groups, consultants come in to look for a solution; for example, bringing a developer in for a website. “Fluctuating specialist teams will increase in number,” says Sarah. “We’ll see much more ebb and flow within teams.”
The challenge for the physical space is – how do you make sure the environment is flexible enough to bring new people in and have them working effectively, if only for a short while?
“Curating whole buildings around enabling these teams to rapidly grow or detract will become more important as more and more project teams need to be in close proximity to the organisation,” she says.
That’s another good reason why furniture needs to be flexible, with minimal effort required to reconfigure the space.
Fostering community and collaboration
Thanks to advances in technology, many of us are enabled to work from home or on the go. We can talk to our colleagues and access any necessary files from literally anywhere.
“There is still a reason for why workplaces exist, and it’s for people to come together and focus on the tasks at hand,” says Sarah. “The workplace needs to be the preferred place of work – and the most productive.”
For example, if you’ve got a report to write, you don’t want to take that home when you’re meant to be with your family – you should be able to focus in the workplace when you need to.
Ultimately, the function of the workplace is to foster relationships and a sense of community so that employees connect with each other.
Co-working refers to the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.
WeWork, the biggest co-working space in NY is about to launch in Sydney, with locations in Martin Place and Pyrmont.
“Predominant clients in WeWork are those who can’t or don’t want to have a long-term lease overhead that – if you’re a small organisation – you usually have to commit to,” says Sarah. “Instead, it’s manageable, month on month, and you share some amenities, giving you much more flexibility.”
These places do a good job of fostering community as well, and there is a lot of design learning that can come from these spaces. “They really are trying to make people happy and engaged at work.”
Image credit: WeWork
Wellbeing in the workplace
According to Sarah, this trend is a huge one, and making wellness a priority in the workplace will soon become standard practice.
No more office ‘cube-farms’ of the past; the organisations at the forefront of these changes are incorporating meditation rooms and sit/stand desks, and educating their employees on how to identify and manage anxiety and other mental health concerns.
Delos is one to watch, with health and wellness placed as the absolute top priority when it comes to design of their facilities. According to their site, “WELL Certified™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and performance of its occupants.”
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