Office Today Gone Tomorrow !

chandrimanag
HCM Consultant
Tata Consultancy Services
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Today’s generations are all about being simple and minimalistic yet collaborative. The workforce is in global transition which means staying linked and agile while respecting the nuances of different cultures and cohorts.The earlier notion on the open-plan office design has in fact been known to create distraction in the workplace let alone be unhygienic and stressful to employees (2011, Matthew Davis). There seems to be a deep transformation in how workspace design will support work keeping in mind multi-generational workforce along with global demographic, economic, cultural shifts tagged to the disruptive innovative nature of work.

Understanding the millennial needs - The generations to come are interested in making a career which enriches not just them but the society and community. Being able to inculcate nature in various forms in the workplace, depend on sustainable renewable energy sources, settings for both collaboration & privacy would be a few facets which would appeal to the millennial psyche.

Health & Wellness - This aspect does not connote building certifications like LEED. What it essentially denotes is a healthy people centric office space – Biophilic Design. It could mean using plant-inspired materials like Jute or allow maximum use of daylight to reduce energy costs. Eg: San Jose Office of Trend Micro.

Community Engagement - The approach towards design in office buildings reflects a shift from organizational hierarchy to community. The workforce today would like to see how the local culture is echoing in the office. Connecting informally with the larger community and understanding how their organization can contribute to community engagement or social responsibility is very highly valued.

LI-FI - Being used to broadband and optical fibers, one might wonder what this is. Use of Visible light between 400 – 800 terahertz for data to 1200 Mbps practically which is being experimented in theory to go up to 224,000 Mbps. The best part! Since light does not pass through solid objects, this data network cannot be hacked.

Transformative Spaces - Enterprises today have realized that the design of the workspace is directly linked to employees’ performance, innovation and work cultures. Thus, the thrust for transformational space to include collaborative design and post-occupancy calibration and designing user experience.

Sans Paper  - You might be wondering whether that is really possible . Well it is difficult but not altogether an incredible thought. The new Deloitte office in Montreal with about 1100 employees has been designed for zero paper usage , no fixed desks even for Senior Partners.

Sharing Office Spaces - Real Estate Costs are peaking across the globe, hence the rising need for space saving. Sharing spaces is a growing trend among millennials. A new spate of products and services like free-address work settings to car- and bike-sharing for a just in time approach and much lower costs.

Movable Workplace Choices - Rather than specify Global Standards, several organizations are now putting together a location agnostic KIT to easily configure offices and open network teams spread geographically. Needless to mention technology is integral to the functioning of such offices.The office will no longer be limited to a just a city or region. The line between work and city, towers and campuses will blur.

Embracing Newer Technology Types - It is superfluous to mention that mastering media is absolutely essential. Social media has revolutionized individual digital connectivity. Today, media is a broad term encompassing interpersonal communication, entertainment and way of doing business by sharing knowledge. Content & Delivery is key bringing in a whole new landscape by defying and breaking the norms of conventional business models and physical space.

Authenticity Centered Design  - This is a term I read in Work design.com. What it essentially tries to convey is that the workplace design should be able to adhere to the core values of the organization through creative branding, faceted Architecture. Eg: Austin Office of Bazaarvoice.

Use of 3D Print Technology - 3D printing technology can be used to build almost anything using any material. Infomentum recently revealed that 33% of employees in UK say that this is close to becoming the reality in their offices by 2020.

Having elucidated these points, my thoughts still remain that with the advent of the Gig Economy, Co working and Flexible workers, work spaces will need to be evolved, future looking and break the monotony of the erstwhile century. Millennials and the generations to come will not have their creative juices flowing in just cubicles or staid “boxes.” As we look to the future of work and speak about the various digital trends taking us up into a whirl wind of transformation, the future office space will also have to be redefined to stay at pace with these trends .

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12th Jan 2017 05:51

While each of the above pointers are an exhaustive subject by itself; the blog truly consolidates the inevitable changes we are/will experience in the workplace. Excellent and very well covered article!!!

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12th Jan 2017 06:03

Thanks Tirtha , Rightly said some of the factors can actually be a complete topic in itself Eg: LI-FI which completely kept me thinking .
The other day I read about Ropeless Elevators , the sideways moving mag-lev elevator system from Thyssenkrupp.
Truly Exciting times ahead !

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