Last week I attended a presentation on The Emerging Workplace. It was a presentation by Miller Office Interiors, Access Business Centers and Interprise Design.
It was interesting to hear how the workplace is changing largely due to technology and the preferred work environment of younger workers. Office layouts are getting more open and collaborative. An open space with gathering areas stimulates greater creativity than putting everyone in separate offices and cubes where they can’t see or talk to each other.
Open space is more inviting and attractive to workers who are used to spending a lot of their time in coffee shops.
Connectivity is incredibly important. Whether sitting at their desk, gathering with coworkers around a coffee table or finding a “touchdown” space for a few minutes of work between meetings, workers expect to have fast and seamless internet access.
Touchdown space is space where someone can touchdown in while flying between appointments. They don’t want to camp out or have their personal items there. They just need it for a few minutes to a few hours before moving on.
Touchdown space is your space for a little while. Space dedicated to a single person is known as “iSpace.” Gathering or shared areas are known as “weSpace.”
Companies are using more contingent works than ever and will account for 25% of the workforce in the coming years. Contingent workers are often called contract workers. They are hired by the project and are not full-time, permanent workers.
Remote workers are now used in 62% of US companies. Of those companies, 34% have remote workers who don’t work in the office at all. That definitely changes the dynamics of the workforce and requires a different approach to technology, communication and office space configuration.
We have all seen video conferencing systems. But have you heard of a worm hole? Neither had I. It’s a video link between offices in different cities or countries. It isn’t intended for communication like in video conferencing. It’s just there for workers to see each other’s office environment. It makes them feel like they are a part of something larger than just there local office. The Plano office can see the Dallas office, the Houston office and the London office just by looking up at a flat panel mounted on the office wall.
So in the end, it’s important for companies to consider how their workforce wants to work and communicate and the resulting technology implications before deciding how to configure the office or even decide on its location.