How Design is Helping to Change the Work Environment
Offices around the world are being designed and created to attract the diverse generation of workers that are needed in today’s technology driven era and the look and feel of the working environment itself has become a key factor in attracting this talent.
Designers are now playing a crucial role in how and where we work, improving productivity, efficiency, along with motivation and staff morale along the way with their designs.
Flexible working has become a key component for many forward-thinking companies who want to keep costs down and retain their skilled staff members. It’s been reported that this year will see over 50% of UK organisations adopt some type of a flexible working schedule for their staff.
You can theoretically work from anywhere in the world with a strong Wi-Fi connection coupled with your MacBook, laptop or tablet. Other new technologies such as video conferencing equipment, wearable tech and cloud storage software has also contributed to the popularity of flexible working.
There are obviously a few missing things out of your working day due to flexible working such as catching up with your work colleagues after the weekend or collaborating with these colleagues on projects.
This means the design and look of products has become even more important. Paper, created by Dropbox, looks to encourage creative collaboration in line with the flexible working model.
Paper allows multiple users to work on one project from different locations and it is designed to look like your typical work document but it’s permanently online and stays up to date with changes from all users and it can also support both video and spreadsheets.
We’ve been told for numerous years that “the robots are coming” and how they are going to have such a massive impact on the working environment, as well as the wider world.
There’s already been a massive uptake within the manufacturing industry, where roles carried out by humans are now being performed by robots and AI is beginning to have a big impact in the office environment.
Google’s virtual Assistant was launched in 2016 and it has since helped assist with travel itinerary, schedule planning, organisational tasks and commute routes for employees. Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, also has a similar role with the way that it can respond to verbal instructions, as well as organising lists, address books, calendars and emails. Cortana even has the ability to anticipate your next move and suggest the next action you should take.
Artificial intelligence has also helped to make the global workplace smaller with the removal of language barriers. Skype’s AI translate service now offers real time translation of calls into several languages, which has helped push Skype to the forefront of the technology industry when it comes to collaborative work.
Entrepreneurship skills have been on the rise for many years and many individuals and start-up companies have begun to look at high quality co-working office facilities, inspired by all things Silicon Valley, to provide them with both a convenient and cost-effective office environment.
Co-working spaces usually provide the necessary deskspace, Wi-Fi and meeting rooms that give workers the platform to rub shoulders with those of a similar profile.
It’s been predicted that the number of people co-working will total one million by 2018 and these individuals and small businesses will have a whole range of options to choose from, fuelled by intriguing designs to inspire all workers.
WeWork are one of the leading companies transforming normal run of the mill office buildings into beautiful, collaborative workspaces.
Employees at WeWork have the ability to make use of their high tech conference room facilities, meditation space, and karaoke room along with free beer on tap throughout their worldwide locations.
We could soon be saying a permanent goodbye to fluorescent strip lighting, stale air and individual cubicles for workers that have become synonymous with office space throughout the UK.
Contrary to this, office spaces today now are now rooted in the values of curiosity, creativity and collaboration. Better lighting, a booming plant life along with the chance to be active in the office have all helped contribute to a much better sense of wellbeing for employees.
Amazon have gone above and beyond with this model at their new Seattle headquarters where employees are housed in three enormous intersecting glass orbs that help to provide plenty of green space with hanging gardens and flowering shrubs. Other design features include daylight-mimicking light bulbs, inspiring common areas and materials that help to cancel sound and create a much better working environment.
The future of office spaces throughout the world are currently going through a big change and as ever, the design industry is helping to shape and drive forward how the offices of the future will look.