There has been much discussion recently about changes in the traditional office environment. While many have predicted that the corporate office building and in-office work environment would recede completely, others have taken more of a conservative position, believing that the office must shift with time. What is most likely to happen is that many companies will adopt more of a hybrid approach, allowing some to work in the office and work from home.
Of course, because each industry and organization has differing needs, it will determine how it will mix ideas to create a new normal. One way or another, the future office will be a reimagined space that better serves the needs and goals of the employees while putting a priority on safety, productivity, and flexibility.
New Ideas for Working Environments
Although corporate real estate will not disappear completely, these spaces’ look is bound to change in the coming years. Cramped cubicles will be seen as outdated, and new designs that emphasize co-working spaces and open plans will increase in popularity. Here are a few of the most popular ideas.
Many offices are turning from closed-off spaces to more open environments. Instead of the hallowed corner offices for upper management and the average worker’s cramped cubicles, today’s offices rely on open floor plans that let in more light and feel more comfortable.
Co-working is becoming another popular concept for offices interested in shared office spaces. It relies on open seating in large rooms, allowing coworkers to interact with each other throughout the workday and create more community vibe. This concept also lets employees engage in easy conversations at any point in the day and encourages many more contributions from more employees than ever before.
In the activity-based office, employees can change work locations depending on the type of activity they are engaged in. Changing one’s environment can spur creativity while allowing different office workers to work together throughout the day.
Neighborhoods are similar to activity-based offices because the people working in the same discipline are seated together. However, these individuals do not move from desk to desk during the day as do those in activity-based offices. Instead, they can combine their talents, knowledge, and experience levels to do far more together than they ever could alone.
Hot desks are unassigned work areas in which an employee can sit. Much like coworking, employees and managers are seated together. However, there is no assigned seating, and employees can move to different work areas or desks whenever they wish.
As you can see, all of these up-and-coming office options rely on a more open plan to improve creativity and flow during the workday. However, as the office becomes more open and interactive, employees may still feel the need for quiet spaces. It will be necessary for employers to provide these throughout their corporate real estate holdings.
New Distributions of Office Spaces Throughout Cities
Larger companies may benefit from distributing their commercial real estate throughout larger cities instead of forcing their employees to come to one centrally located office. Not only will this cut down on the angst that employees feel about long commute times, but also it will create smaller workspaces in which employees can get to know each other better. This can help people feel more understood and give them the social benefits that many still enjoy at work.
New Technology for Remote Work
Another thing that is sure to change in the office of the future is technology. Computers and handheld devices are becoming smarter all the time. Hands-free technology will help keep individuals safe when working at the office. In contrast, intelligent technology will help remote workers connect even if they are hundreds of miles apart. Technology has done much to connect individuals across the miles over the past several years. Younger workers expect that smart technology will be in place from when they are hired to give them the flexibility they need to work when and how they want.
Future office spaces are also expected to focus more on sustainability and green living than ever before. Millennials and Generation Z employees have increasingly acknowledged the benefits of environmentally conscious choices. These desires are beginning to flow from the home into the workplace, too, as these individuals are looking for office spaces that acknowledge and offset climate change. They also want plenty of natural, green spaces.
New Flexibility for Office Locations
Flexible work or hybrid workplaces allow individuals to work partially at home and partly in the office. Research has continued to show that many people prefer to work at least a day or two each week at home, but most people do not want to be at home for all of their work hours. New employees are looking for offices that honor this type of flexibility in remote work when necessary but still allow them to enjoy the traditional workplace environment’s social benefits.
New Social Distancing Options in Office Buildings
Of course, as people continue to return to the office after months of working from home, offices will need to find ways to keep these individuals safe. Installing hand-free communication methods, touch-free elevator buttons, high-tech air filtration systems, antimicrobial surfaces, and more will be critical budgetary considerations for any employer. However, businesses that opt for this hybrid model of flexible work will also need to take the time to redefine their workplace policies and come up with ways to work collaboratively without confusion among team members.
While the office, as you know, it and the traditional conference rooms of yesteryear are not doomed to disappear completely, you will see them gradually shifting to meet the demands of a younger workforce that values collaboration, creativity, technology, and flexibility. Open spaces with comfortable seating and simple desks that meet modern workers’ needs will take dark cubicles and the ubiquitous hallway water cooler.
No matter if your business is large or small, incorporated or an LLC, the environment in the office of the future will focus more on relationships than work hours and more on team-building than on management hierarchy. Large meeting rooms, activity-based workspaces, and new policies that encourage plenty of discussion between employees at all levels will increase interpersonal communication, helping to form a sort of brain trust that allows new ideas and solutions to be created more quickly than ever before. Business environments will no longer be standardized, and your ideal workspace may look completely different from another within the same industry.
Although physical office spaces are still going to serve a prime role in how people work, you will also find that hybrid office solutions will be a big selling point for new employees considering working for your small business. Whatever office space you have, E-Marketing Associates can help you grow with SEO for small business, website design services, and much more.