As our approach to working life has continued to change over time, so too have the workplaces in which we spend so much of our lives. One of the most significant examples of this has been the rise of flexible working, which has gone a long way in expanding the potential of office spaces beyond traditional limitations.
According to a report commissioned by design and architecture firm MoreySmith, sentient, hospitality and flat age work spaces are set to be the next major game changers in shaping the office spaces of tomorrow. Focused on providing attractive, technologically-advanced workspaces in which employees can thrive, these trends are well on their way towards revolutionizing office space as we know it.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the most exciting office trends making an impact today—offering a glimpse of what your future office space might look like. Let’s get stuck in.
Trend #1: Workplace Sentience
While the concept of a ‘sentient workplace’ may initially sound like a challenging concept to grasp, its underlying principle is simple. The term ‘sentience’ refers to our capacity to experience the environment around us, and the idea that our work environment can have a significant impact on our productivity and wellbeing is far from new.
Sentient workplaces are expected to take that principle to a whole new level. Focusing entirely on shaping a more human-oriented, intuitive environment, sentient workplaces will make use of sophisticated technologies capable of responding to workers’ needs.
In practice, that could mean monitoring heart rates, hunger and air temperature—and reacting to them accordingly. The result? A work environment that is more actively connected to employee wellbeing, supporting them in becoming more healthy and productive.
Although transforming an office from an indifferent concrete structure into a responsive environment conscious of its occupants’ needs may seem like a long way off, it is taking a step closer towards becoming a reality with each passing day. Productivity and wellbeing in the workplace will continue to play a central role in the years to come, and sentient workplaces are likely to be instrumental in driving them.
Trend #2: Ultra Personalization
The demise of the one-size-fits-all philosophy had already been partly ushered in with the rise of flexible office space, but the future focus on workplace personalization may well commit that approach to the history books forever. Every one of us approaches our work in a different way, and employers are beginning to recognize the benefits of taking account of this fact through the office spaces they provide.
When it comes to personalizing our work environment, we’re not just talking about a well-placed desk plant or family portrait—although both of these can have a positive impact on workplace satisfaction. Instead, we’re talking about wearable technologies that provide personalized recommendations on health and productivity in the workplace, lighting that adjusts automatically to your comfort levels and much more.
Achieving commercial results is all about getting the best out of every employee’s unique strengths, and technologies centered around the collection and analysis of data can give employers the tools they need to personalize their workplace in the best way possible.
Trend #3: Age Agnosticism
Future office spaces are likely to add further weight to the saying that age is just a number, blurring the lines between baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials and Generation Zers. The workforce has always been made up of employees from different generations and backgrounds, but the immense importance of the diversity agenda means that offices are likely to consider intergenerational collaboration even more in the years to come.
According to the MoreySmith report, the emergence of the 5G workforce—which sees five generations working together as one—will have a major impact on workplace collaboration. The so-called ‘flat age workspace’ is expected to level out the differing knowledge and requirements of each generation through providing improved facilities for knowledge sharing. If Mentor Pods, Diversity Incubators, VR Learning Labs and AI learning are anything to go on, then collaborative working is about to become much more exciting.
Trend #4: The Hospitality Workspace
One of the most exciting trends shaping the modern office is the ‘hospitality workspace,’ which is explicitly designed to bring work and play together under a single roof. Changing preferences have meant that in this day and age, many employees want more than just a place in which to work productively. Instead, they long to be part of an innovative and adaptable community that is fully adapted to their overall lifestyle.
As one of the most innovative office spaces in London, the headquarters for global pharmaceutical company GSK has gone to extreme lengths to provide their employees with everything they need onsite. Costing over £300m, the new premises houses over 3,200 staff and includes it’s very own high street. Designed to provide a social space and an array of facilities, the street boasts an impressive selection of cafes, shops and even a beauty salon.
Hospitality workspaces are ideally placed to meet this growing demand through turning the work environment into a multifaceted experience. Productive working is just the beginning here – employees could grab a meal at an office restaurant, sleep in a dedicated resting area, make use of fitness facilities or even get inspired by an on-site art gallery. Whatever the case, hospitality workspaces are all about catering to employees’ professional and personal lives simultaneously.
The Evolution of Office Space
The above are just a few examples of the way in which offices are continuing to evolve, and nobody really knows what the future of office space might have in store. What’s for certain, however, is that the office spaces of tomorrow will offer ample opportunity for work and play in a way that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.