Physical workspace: Inventions, innovations and ideas in the workplace
| 21 June 2018
The American workplace is constantly in flux. From the emergence of coworking spaces to the ongoing debate on the most productive office layouts, how and where we work is always evolving.
The workplace is where we spend most of our time outside of the home. In fact, more than a third of Americans’ lives are spent at the office. On average, 8.8 hours are logged a day at work, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics– that’s a whopping 1,800 hours a year. Therefore, it’s imperative that developers and employers create spaces that speak to employees’ growing needs and foster creativity.
Whether it’s a cubicle or a community couch, the physical workplace has experienced major advancements that have helped employees become more productive, collaborative and comfortable.
Below, we look at three game-changers that forever transformed the physical workplace.
Breaking down barriers
Thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, workforces are more untethered now than ever. With most employees armed with laptops and smartphones, business is done on the go and in groups. Work can happen anytime and anywhere in the modern offices of today, with ample space for face-to-face interactions unfolding in socially inviting common areas, lounge rooms, coffee bars and couches.
Nevertheless, open office plans are a hot-button topic among workers. While some may discover that they encourage teamwork and enrich relationships, others find them to be distracting and counterproductive. There’s no right or wrong answer, but business owners and office managers must strike a balance to keep all employees happy.
The workplace is your oyster
Coworking spaces are undoubtedly on the rise. With alternatives to traditional offices like the Wing and banks doubling as meeting hubs, finding a place to shoot off emails, work on presentations or meet with co-workers is commonplace outside of the office, and easier than ever.
The percentage of people who work remotely has grown in recent years, from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016, per Gallup. Additionally, 60% of companies now offer their employees telecommuting opportunities, a threefold increase from 1996.
“To me, what mobility in the workplace really means is that your office is now on your phone. It’s on your tablet. It’s on your laptop,” Andrew Kupiec, global president, CBRE 360 told Blueprint.
“You aren’t tethered to the same desk or that same office every day. Ultimately, companies want to create workplaces that attract talent and put the needs of their employees at the centre of design.”
Offices of tomorrow
Every day, engineers, developers and business owners are coming up with innovative ways to create and improve enriching work experiences. However, only time will tell how the workplace of the future will look, feel and operate. Many see the offices in the years and decades to come growing only more high-tech, yet less structured.
From 3D-printed corporate buildings to smart desks to hotel-like, amenity-loaded offices that blur the lines between personal and professional lives, change seems to be the one thing we can count on.
In addition to today’s nap pods, we might also see creativity cocoons and virtual reality rooms designed to supercharge employees’ focus and output. As the places we work transform to keep pace with the latest innovations — and become increasingly casual and comfortable to match the flexibility and freedom workers have come to expect — so too will our office furniture and meeting spaces.