The future of office design

The enforced restrictions of the last year have brought about seismic changes in the way we work. In working from home, many have discovered that they can still be efficient and get the job done. Beyond the initial enjoyment of being surrounded by home comforts and not having to commute, our separation from the mothership has also brought into sharp focus what we miss about life in the office and how those thoughts will potentially help shape the future of office design. Here are some areas which are likely to receive increased attention.

Communal meeting areas – As human beings our basic need to connect and collaborate is part of our hard wiring. Whilst Zoom and cyber technology are invaluable assets to our distanced working methods, they do not replace the camaraderie of working as part of a team. Technology hinders the emotional capacity for us to understand how colleagues are feeling and to respond accordingly which is an essential factor in making a connection. Ideas spark and evolve from individuals getting together and mulling or brainstorming concepts. Mentoring and training is an element of work life which has also been stretched during this time. Moving forward collaborative space will receive heightened attention as an element which can’t be neglected.  

If people are going to work from home more often when they come into the office, they will require the lift of catching up with co-workers. 

COEL Communal meeting areas
COEL Communal meeting areas

Auditory Booths – Whilst there is an appetite for the requirement of meeting areas and communal space; for many having quiet, private space to work from has been of benefit to them in ploughing through the workload. This combined with the large-scale adoption of virtual meetings means that those who chose to attend the office will often need a private space to hold virtual meetings with home working staff or clients. Acoustic booths or pods 

are a self-contained, segregated, and sound proofed space. The benefit of the booths lies in the versatility of their design: they come flat packed and are erected quickly, they don’t have to meet building regulations and they can be moved around within the workplace floor plan. A perfect solution to companies who work in open plan areas and now may require meeting spaces and quiet zones.  

Sophisticated technology and facilities – many of us have been yearning for the great WIFI, technological tools and services that tend to be offered as matter of course in workplaces and few of us have the resources or space to house industrial printers, scanners, or the like. The recent situation has given some a crash catch up course in modern technology which is unabated, and companies will want to offer a hub to enable productivity through IT support and provision of the best technological equipment. Ergonomic furniture will be a priority to ensure all employees are receiving appropriate physical support for the work they do when they are in the office.

COEl Brand identity and thought-provoking design
COEl Brand identity and thought-provoking design

Brand identity and thought-provoking design – with employees being given flexibility in where they work, more attention will be placed upon ensuring the workplace is a destination of choice rather than necessity. It should be a destination which supports and elevates a working day, styled to emanate the company culture, and encourage the family/club mentality. Investment in creating amazing and enriching workspace will be considered a trademark of the company and a benefit for those who work there. Company branding will take on a more enhanced in providing a sense of identity to both those who work there and those who visit.  There will be a softening in the interior design to take greater influence from both residential and hospitality design.

Reduced numbers of traditional work settings will be replaced with collaborative solutions that draw staff to the office and can’t be replicated in the home.

Adapting the office to meet the needs of an evolving world is essential. Wellbeing will be at the heart of office design both in psychological terms in offering connectivity, and a sense of belonging and identity or physical wellbeing in providing technical facilities and ergonomic furniture. The autonomy people will now have in choosing where to work is invaluable and well received. Looking beyond current essential restrictions, bringing people together will always be of vital importance. ”The total is always greater than the sum of parts.” Aristotle.

COEL

With over 30 years’ experience in design and fit-out, COEL delivers innovative workplace solutions.

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