Office of the Future– Inside the Deskless, Paperless, Wallless Office Space: Starbucks Doesn’t Really Do It– Alternatives…

Office of the future: The main concept behind the office of the future is to make it as paperless as possible with a heavy reliance on digital technology… Technology is reshaping the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business… As a result, flexibility and adaptability is the sought-after attributes for employees at all levels…

According to Jason Lewis; technology allows companies to be more paperless and work from a single smart communicating-computing device… and with cloud-based systems… work, information is more accessed from anywhere, anytime… and it’s more easily shared– Workers no longer have to be tethered to an office to be productive. According to Stephen Siena; technology is very much at the heart of office transformation, although there is also a change in the business culture going on, as well– the desire for more collaboration…

According to Kay Sargent; to find the best office design, companies need to understand their end goal and what works best for their teams by thinking about the demographics of the majority of their staff, the culture implemented, whether collaboration or focus work is needed, and the power structure at their organizations... According to Edward Danyo; we found that only 35% of work activity… actually takes place in offices and cubes, yet we dedicate 85% of our space to those… It’s about creating environments so people can do their best work, and we’ve seen a 45% increase in the speed of decision-making… The forward-looking office design also saves money by saving space.

In the office of the future cubicles are a thing of the past, it’s an open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling windows and features angled tables and shared workstations for collaboration. There are glass-walled rooms for ad hoc meetings, special no-talking zones and employees get lockers for personal possessions… According to Gareth Jones; business is changing– the way we do business is changing, the structure of the organization is changing, and the way we use office space is changing– we need more fluid space where employees can interact in whichever way suits them best…

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In the article What Is the Office of the Future? by Lana Bortolot  writes; Once upon a time, a person asked to envision the workspace of the future might have detailed the trappings of a space-age utopia: robots, flying pods and out-of-this-world architecture. But ask today’s architects about tomorrow’s office, and the conversation is more likely to include touch-points such as; communication, collaboration, integration…

Instead of being out of this world, the next wave of offices is down to earth, and designed around the employees’ needs and specific company cultures… According to Barry Svigals; office design is a great leveraging tools companies have at their behest– it’s not just furniture… Increasingly, there’s a branding aspect that’s important to innovative companies. It’s not only for the outside world but for them; it reminds them of who they are…

The formalities between customers and companies have relaxed, as have corporate hierarchies– the corner office is isolating, not coveted, cubicles are relics, and walls have come down. Instead of impressive conference room, the must-haves for new offices are communal multi-purpose spaces designed to stimulate conversation, cooperation, inspiration… So what will shape the office of the future? Unanimously, designers say transparency is the No. 1 driver of office design… Open space, experts say, cultivates open minds…

According to Brad Pease; the office is a collaboration room and that extends to the customer spaces such as; reception areas, conference rooms… Whereas they once telegraphed authority, such staid spaces convey detachment and concealment in the now and future office.  A formalized lobby with a reception desk is a space that is not generating any ideas… we consider those  dead spaces– what customers’ value is access to ideas… According to James G. Phillips; employees should not be hidden away behind a reception area… the corporate culture is right there, front and center, and it’s about people more than anything…

Increasingly, the office of the future communicates a company’s culture-values, and taking a page from the hospitality industry– from cafe spaces that host collaboration-conferencing to dedicated respite areas for employees. Everything that’s physical must support the company mission. According to Collins; more than a showcase, the office combines hospitality and branding in a space that displays not just what the company’s team does, but who they are… It’s a customer space, but it connects employees to what their customers are doing and connect to the brand… It’s a light-bulb moment that gives them context…

According to Thomas Bercy; people want two things; complete openness– no more of the ’70s or ’80s kind of office, and they want space for one-on-one meeting... Another clear trend in office design is creating an environment that will appeal to the up-and-coming ‘Gen Y’ work force.

The Pew Research Center describes the Millennial generation as ‘confident, connected and open to change’; companies are designing offices that accommodate this psychographic: Weaned on mobile technology, fluent in social media and networking and immersed in issues such as; climate change and sustainability, Millennials seek work environments that reflect their ideals…

According to Chris Bockstael; the younger generation gives a sense that they want to enjoy the work environment… It doesn’t have to be a stagnant series of rooms where you do one process and then another process, but an environment that promotes collaboration. When an employee walks into a space, they can tell a difference in the places that value people rather than finishes… And that tells you why we’re changing the offices from closed doors to open…

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In the article Office of the Future–2020 by OfficeTeam writes: The future office will be increasingly mobile with technology enabling employees to perform their job from virtually anywhere, anytime… But greater control over where and how people work won’t necessarily translate into more free time. Forty-two percent of executives polled said they believe employees will be working more hours in the next 10 to 15 years…

The trends that were identified are, in fact, a reality today, including; use of multifunctional, wireless technology to conduct business from anyplace at anytime… The OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies and found the following: Technology will continue to reshape the workplace, changing how and where we conduct business…

In the future office, there will be added pressure to adapt quickly to change, work smarter, increase productivity and perform duties outside of one’s job description… The good news is that emerging technological tools and educational opportunities will better enable professionals to meet these challenges. Among the other findings include:

  • Technology tools to provide even greater flexibility: Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside of the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.
  • Telecommuting to rise: Improved wireless connectivity will allow for an increasingly flexible workforce. Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years. Telecommuting enables employees to work where it’s most convenient, but it also challenges their interpersonal skills. They must build relationships with coworkers while having fewer in-person interactions.
  • Staff to put in more time: Forty-two percent of executives surveyed think that employees will be working more hours in 10 to 15 years. Only 9% said they would be working fewer hours.
  • Workers will stay in touch while on vacation: With the proliferation of wireless technology, staff will be expected to remain in close contact with the office while they’re away. Eighty-six percent of executives surveyed said workers will be more connected to the office while on vacation in the future.
  • Companies/employees take a new view on work/life balance: People may put in more time, but they will do so using tools that provide more control over their schedules and enable them to better balance priorities. There will be an increasingly blurred line between work and other activities; people will need to multitask to meet all of their obligations efficiently.

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In the article Office of the Future by Jennifer LeClaire writes: Office designs can enhance productivity, accommodate collaboration, and help with issues like work-life balance– if they are designed with these objectives in mind… Alternate and adaptable environments are keys for the office of the future. Offices will feel almost club-like in their choice of environments in which employees can spend their day. Offices will be less static in terms of assigned desks– it will be more open, transparent and, of course, media rich, offering; Wi-Fi throughout, ample teleconferencing suites and other immediate access points to remote colleagues and customers around the world…

The office of the future will enhance productivity by fostering employee engagement and connection with brand, company, each other… A more transparent office, by the same token, will enhance productivity by allowing for more collaboration and socialization among employees– seeing is knowing– the better employees know each other the more likely they are to feel comfortable with each other, and work well together…

The office of the future will support a culture of convenience, that is, the office will be designed to foster collaborative experiences in a variety of settings, for example; an expansive and welcoming café style area for lunch, snacks, etc.; seating areas with couches, comfortable chairs-tables scattered throughout the office to encourage and accommodate informal meetings, and conference rooms appropriate for the space. The norm for offices of the future will be collaboration space…

The idea of an ‘extended workplace’ is key to enhancing work-life balance. Creating a workplace that extends employees’ options vis-à-vis time, tools and environment will be critical. What does this mean? The office of the future must include amenities such as; gym, rooms for nursing mothers, on-site cafes offering healthy foods…

Organizations that embrace amenities that give employees options to help them balance their lives will be demonstrating that the health of their workers is a key value. This will become increasingly important when considering rising insurance premiums and proactive health care, as well as, when thinking about employee retention and hiring…

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If you ask 20 different people what the office of the future will look like, you’ll probably get 20 different answers… According to Roger Kahn; technology is providing increased mobility, and increased mobility will result in less of a need for the traditional office. It used to be that you had to go to a bricks-and-sticks office to work– because this is where the files and communications are located, and where we collaborated with colleagues. The virtual office is more compatible with the mobile work style; and the traditional offices are diminishing…

This fundamentally changes the core concept of an office. We no longer will need to ‘go to work’– we just ‘connect to work’– the future is going to be about ‘connected productivity’… According to Adam Stark; I’m not sure that it will look that much different than it does today. Styles and technologies may change, but I believe that people will always be looking for a nice work environment, where they are surrounded by people with whom they interact…

According to Paul Morrell; synchronicity and co-location are being turned on their head by new generations and new technology… People no longer need to be in same place at the same time, every day… We still need the office, but the office will be different as technology and the way we works changes, however, even with hype around social media, cloud… the workplace of tomorrow is likely to be very similar to what it is today…