Gone are the typewriters, the lunchtime martinis, the spacious corner offices.
The workplace of today looks decidedly different to those of decades gone by, but the biggest changes are still to come. Rapidly updated technology, the influence of start-up culture, and new research into the health impacts of office life are transforming workplaces before our eyes.
At Humanscale, we keep a keen eye on the needs of workers
Here’s our round-up of the top 2015 office trends our designers and engineers are keeping an eye on/influenced by:
Emphasis On Health
Research in recent years has emphasized the extreme health impacts of sitting for upwards of 40 hours a week – a typical office lifestyle for many. Employers are now getting serious about ensuring they promote health and wellness. Main Street predicts organizations will place more emphasis on corporate wellness programs, such as subsidized gym memberships or incentives to lose weight. More employees are requesting sit/stand desks, as studies show balancing intervals of sitting with movement is the key to negating health consequences.
Technology In Every Aspect
The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology predicts the boundaries between work and personal life will become increasingly blurred with the proliferation of smartphones and wearable tech, such as Google Glass and the soon-to-be released Apple Watch. Meanwhile, the integration of technology into existing office design will be seen more and more, starting with Humanscale’s OfficeIQ powered by Tome. We are seeing the automation of numerous “knowledge work” jobs once done by humans, such as data collection and research. But job losses aside, a recent study by Dell found that 46% of employees felt new technology had upped their productivity and aided with more rapid communication among colleagues.
The End Of Cubicles Forever
The cubicle office has played a huge role in the evolving history of the workplace, but it’s time to move forward. More big corporate players are opting to follow in the footsteps of start-ups and tech companies with casual, creative and collaborative workspaces. As remote working becomes mainstream, the traditional office desk is needed less and less. Paired with soaring commercial rents, offices are opting to use their space for activity or conference spaces rather than rows of traditional workstations, according to The New York Times. The influence of the new millennial labor market cannot be discounted. Employers are eager to capture the attention of younger workers with colorful campus-like workplaces that reference the futuristic offices of Google and Facebook and have amenities like gyms, yoga classes and organic cafeterias. Workplaces will look more like modern art galleries and less like Mad Men. Dwell says the focus is now on an open plan layout with a relaxed and flexible vibe, making the space more versatile for a variety of different types of work.
Working remotely has been made possible by cloud file-sharing, video conference calls, and easy-access high speed internet. Many workers now consider it a workplace requirement, says The Miami Herald. Angela Hills, executive vice president of HR consultancy Cielo, says in a Main Street article that mobile access will be the next frontier, with employers enabling increased access to systems and programs. Remote working may conjure up the image of a pyjama-clad worker tapping away on a laptop in bed, but more than half of people surveyed for a Dell report into the workforce believe that employees working from home are just as productive, or more, than in the office.
We would love to hear which trends you are seeing in your workplace? Which ones are exciting to you and which ones do you think are just a fad?