The workplace of the future will look and feel nothing like a traditional office. In fact, it may not even be an office at all. While many businesses continue to maintain an old-fashioned view of what the future workplace should look like, forward-thinking companies are moving quickly toward a more flexible, dynamic and unstructured workspace that is centred on collaboration and innovation.
The pre-covid office was a different place entirely. Before the pandemic, it was common to see the office as a place with desks in it. Nothing more, nothing less. The chances are, your office contained as many employees as desks, each one designated for a specific person so they could come into work, take a seat and get on with their day. Many are arguing now that this was a one-dimensional way of looking at how we conduct our work.
Now, with the global economy becoming increasingly knowledge-based and digital, employees are able to work from virtually any location, regardless of their department or job function. The result is a new type of work culture that revolves around trust, transparency and fluid communication between team members who are no longer restricted to separate departmental silos.
What does the office of the future look like?
The office of the future is a smart building or virtual location that is created with the vision to make it a more conducive place to work, learning lessons from pre-covid offices and doing something fundamentally different. It will be an office that is well-designed and personalised to meet the needs of every individual employee, and it will offer more flexible working spaces, private offices, breakout areas and open floor plans that allow employees to move around as needed.
The office of the future will be a place where employees are able to work on their own terms and feel comfortable expressing themselves, and it will also be a place where employees can truly feel valued and appreciated.
In a world where technology plays such an important role in everyday life, it makes sense for businesses to continue investing in new technologies that can help them stay competitive in today’s market.
With everything from social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to apps like Slack, people are constantly on the go and need somewhere and some way to get their business done. This is why many companies are investing in technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to create solutions that can help them compete in today’s market.
With that in mind, we “asked” an AI image generator what it thinks the office of the future will look like, based on the points we’ve included in this article. We see greenery, open plan spaces and neutral colour schemes.
How to build a future-ready office now
There are two ways to approach building an office that is future-ready, either by looking at how you and your team works or by looking at how you’re supported to work.
If you want to be future-ready, think about whether your office needs to be flexible enough to accommodate different ways of working, or whether it needs to be zero-waste so that it doesn’t contribute to climate change.
If your office is old, look for ways to make it more energy efficient – perhaps by adding insulation or a solar panel. And if your office has a bad reputation, do something about it – for example, by making the space more inviting (consider adding plants and whiteboards), more accessible (provide ramps for wheelchairs), or more tech-friendly (install an accessible phone system).
On the other hand, if you want to be future-ready, think about how your work supports sustainability goals and ESG initiatives. For example, if all of your suppliers are carbon neutral or have ISO 14001 certification – which means they are committed to sustainable practices – then that’s an environmental win.
Or maybe you can support employees who are volunteering at local schools. Or maybe you can pledge 1% of your budget towards funding renewable energy projects. All of these things can help build a future-ready office now.
Collaboration, flexibility and transparency in the office of the future
In an era of ever-increasing digitalisation, collaboration should now be easier than before. The traditional office model just doesn’t cut it anymore.
What is needed is a more flexible, collaborative approach that allows for people to work from anywhere and at any time. This will promote greater flexibility and transparency in the office, which in turn will lead to better quality work.
For these reasons, the office of the future will see a dramatic shift away from traditional models toward flexible, collaborative settings that allow people to work from anywhere and at any time. Even small changes like a machine for free coffee or communal desks can have a big impact on productivity.
What will be the main features of the office of the future?
The main features of the office of the future consider the collaborative and social aspects of work. Open-concept offices allow for collaboration and social interaction between coworkers while also allowing for easy access to information. As technology continues to evolve and improve, these features will become even more important in order to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the modern workplace.
1. Virtual Reality Meetings
Virtual reality meetings are becoming more and more common. VR meetings are a great way to get your team together without having to go to a physical office space. With VR, you can have a meeting with your remote coworkers in the conference room no matter where they are.
There are many benefits to virtual reality meetings. For starters, it’s easy to set up because all you need is a headset and a computer. Also, after the outlay for equipment it’s relatively low cost. You can also see each other from every angle, which is especially helpful in group settings when you need to read people’s mannerisms, which isn’t always possible over Zoom.
Another benefit is that it’s easy to share the experience with others through video or screen sharing. And last but not least, it’s easy for people who are physically away from each other to be involved in the conversation and feel like they are there together.
2. Biophilic Elements
Biophilic design is an approach that promotes the positive effects of nature. The term was coined by British architect and designer James Wines in 2004, but it has since gained popularity worldwide. The idea is that having a living space that looks like a natural environment can help make people feel calmer, more relaxed, and more open to experiences. It also helps reduce stress levels, improves overall indoor air quality and improve overall health.
There are many ways to incorporate biophilic elements into a space, including the use of foliage inside and out, adding plants to furniture, using materials such as bamboo or cork, and incorporating water features or water bodies. Many of these ideas have been used in natural-themed hotels and resorts for years now. However, the concept is gaining traction in office spaces as well.
The most important thing to keep in mind when designing a biophilic space is that it should be functional. You don’t want your office to look like a jungle.
3. Work from anywhere becomes the norm
Recently hitting the headlines, large organisations like Spotify announcing the plan to allow staff to work from literally anywhere to the rise in remote only jobs sites, it’s clear that we’re never going back to the traditional office. The ability to work from anywhere means that you can take on a new role or start a new career path with very little difficulty. This is especially true for those who want to pursue a career in something that doesn’t require them to be physically present in one place.
With the ability to work from anywhere comes the ability to truly work anywhere, which has become increasingly important as technology has made it easier than ever before to work remotely. Those who are able to find remote positions will have an advantage over those who can only find available local positions due to the flexibility that working remotely allows.
It’s important to keep in mind that working remotely doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality of life. While some people may feel more comfortable working from home, others prefer an office space and opportunities to meet new people and get out into the community. Regardless of what works best for you, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the arrangement before you commit to it.
4. The traditional office structure will no longer exist
In the not-too-distant future, it is likely that we will be working in a completely different way than we do now. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the fact that technology is advancing at an exponential rate.
Another is that people are increasingly spending more time outside of the office, whether they are taking classes, working at home or simply spending time relaxing. All of these factors mean that traditional office structures are going to become increasingly outdated as time goes by.
However, there is another way to look at this situation – it can be viewed as an opportunity. As we’ve already seen, technology has changed our lives in countless ways. This means that there are plenty of creative opportunities out there waiting to be explored.
Types of offices we can expect to see more of
Below is a range of different office structures and setups we envision becoming increasingly common over the coming years.
1. Flexible office
A flexible office, also known as hybrid office, is an office that can be rearranged or reconfigured to suit the evolving needs of its occupants. The adaptability of a flexible office enables it to change with the needs and demands of its occupants, whether those needs are personal, professional or both. For example, a flexible office may be designed to meet the necessity to work from home or have visitors. A flexible office may also be designed to allow its occupants to rearrange the workspace as needed. Flexible offices are becoming increasingly popular in today’s workplace.
These offices typically offer a wide range of different layouts and configurations, allowing them to accommodate a variety of different workspace requirements. They may include features such as movable walls and partitions, storage cabinets, workstations, tables and chairs, and other items that can be moved around or reconfigured as necessary. Some flexible offices may even include wireless network connections so that they can be used for working from home or other remote locations.
Business overheads are always increasing, and this is true of space costs too. A flexible office can be right-sized, whereby an office space can be shrunk or expanded to accommodate the volume of people working there. This doesn’t necessarily mean the existing office, but perhaps the new office space at a different location. For example, Beringar’s sensors help businesses understand exactly how much space they are using and when. Because of this, when businesses look to procure another office space, they know the exact size they need, so they don’t need to overspend.
2. Virtual office
A virtual office is one that has no physical premises. Instead, virtual offices are made up of a number of online services, such as video conferencing, shared computers and the like. Virtual offices have various benefits, including reduced overheads and no commute for employees. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as reduced privacy and lack of flexibility.
If you are interested in setting up a virtual office, make sure that you understand the benefits and drawbacks of this option. Also, be sure to check with your employers first if they will allow you to work from home or if there are any additional requirements that you need to meet before setting up a virtual office. We’ve already mentioned that some people prefer a physical location to meet their social needs, so this will be an important factor when deciding on a virtual or physical office.
3. Wellness office
A workplace that is designed around an active rather than sedentary lifestyle is an ideal place to encourage employees to lead active lives outside of work.
Offices with plenty of space for walking and exercise, open spaces that encourage socialising and healthier food options can all help build a healthier work-life balance. And since research shows that regular physical activity improves mental health and productivity, it’s no wonder that so many workplaces are becoming more active.
As the concept of “workplace wellness” becomes more mainstream, companies are realising the benefits of encouraging their employees to be more active both at work and outside of the office walls. In addition to reducing stress levels and increasing productivity, an active workplace might also reduce absenteeism by keeping employees well-rested.
4. Connected office
The connected office has tech woven throughout the very fabric of the office space. It uses internet of things sensors and environmental sensors to ensure that everything is working as it should be and employees are at their happiest and most productive. Put simply, the connected office is focused on optimising every aspect of the office, from indoor air quality to energy use and space utilisation to productivity.
Sensors like the Beringar HX2 sensor can help businesses understand the optimal indoor air quality required to reduce decision fog and improve wellbeing, while also helping businesses understand occupancy levels and usage insights.
With all parts of the office working together, the connected office runs smoothly, with employees that face few barriers during working hours, helping them do what they do best!
The office of the future is an office that is created with the vision of making it an inspiring place to work rather than a drudge. It will be an office that is well-designed and personalised to meet the needs of every individual employee, offering more flexible working spaces, private offices, and open floor plans that allow employees to move around freely.