Despite business growth, companies are becoming more reluctant to move or take on additional office space, until they are sure that their current office no longer supports their growth or function. If you are contemplating signing a commercial office lease and are anticipating uncertainty in the real estate market, the question you might be asking is: “Should we stay, or should we go?”
Long term sustainability, even in a healthy economy, requires more than just a funky, fresh, open office floor plan and a technologically savvy space. To truly support the workforce of tomorrow, companies will need to reimagine the concept of an office – from a space just for work – to a purpose-driven environment that encourages communication, attention and more. At the heart of any office transformation is the need to increase collaboration and engagement – key pillars of improving company culture. Many progressive companies are reevaluating their existing space in search of effective office interior design solutions that can maximize their existing workplace. They are recognising that an office space that focuses on increased collaboration, rather than individual work space, can become a tool that drives and retains their most valuable asset: their people.
As our workforce becomes more mobile, agile and diverse, the office of tomorrow will require a new level of workplace optimization to support business process and function. The following trends will continue to redefine the office of tomorrow as employers work to gain a competitive edge in 2020 and beyond.
In today’s digital office environment, filing rooms, storage areas, copy centers and other static spaces have outlived their use, and are increasingly turning into graveyards for the obsolete. To optimise workspaces, organizations should work closely with an interior designer to determine how to best inject life into these dead spaces. For example, consider converting an abandoned file room into a collaboration zone or a conference room; or dividing it into focus rooms or micro offices. These types of spaces might better support the needs of your current workforce and their evolving work style preferences. When weighing the pros and cons of moving versus remodeling an existing space, consider how your rent, operational and housekeeping expenses affect the cash outflow that impacts your organisation’s bottom line.
Dynamic environments that enable fast-process driven work are becoming increasingly important for many employers. Scrum, an agile framework for managing fast-process and knowledge-driven team work, enables a group of employees to efficiently touch base on projects via 15-minute stand-up meetings. When designed effectively, scrum areas include the highest level of technology and connectivity – from laptops, multiple screens, whiteboards and intuitive software – to ensure employees can quickly access and share work. It enables immediate collaboration, and a space for teams to move in and out of freely, thereby increasing productivity and expediting employee output.
Nearly 60 percent of the workforce will be working remotely at some time during their week and to accommodate this dynamic workforce, companies will need to transform their office space from a place to process work to a results-driven environment that supports its knowledge workers and their need for flexible and intuitive workspaces. Strategically moving away from traditional assigned seating, re-configuring spaces to create fluidity, and converting areas into zones for collaboration, confidentiality, solitude or demonstration, the office of tomorrow will need to enable self-organisation through a master plan that truly optimises organisational performance.
As you decide whether to take on more space, remodel your current environment, or move entirely, keep in mind that companies gearing up for the workplace of tomorrow will need the agility to meet the needs of their current and future workforce. When office space is designed in a way that no longer effectively supports an organisation’s process and function it can be a costly expense. But, by re-purposing underutilised spaces, supporting an agile environment with appropriate technology, and accommodating the growing demand for telecommuting, businesses can create effective office environments that become strategic tools for their business success.