As more research emerges and more designers take new approaches to the office, new ways to imagine office design and support productivity continually emerge.
To keep you up-to-date on some of these developments, here are four recent trends showing how the office continues to be reinvented to support productivity.
Author Susan Cain made the New York Times’ best-seller list in 2012 with Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Now she’s working to help introverts in their office life by designing work spaces just for them.
Partnering with Steelcase, Cain is currently developing five different spaces where introverts can work or relax.
Each space has its own name. Mindshare is designed with a whiteboard, a large table and two chairs. The smaller space Be Me, on the other hand, lets a worker retreat and get some precious alone time.
These spaces provide models for how companies can design for different work styles in the future.
We all know a certain Internet giant that’s as famous for its playful office space as it is for its services. Google’s creative, anti-corporate look turned the typical office design on its side.
One company, however, has dismissed the whimsical look for something more sophisticated.
Instead of colorful amenities and slides, Wieden+Kennedy’s New York office boasts wooden floors and off-white walls, creating a sleek and adult look.
“Our belief is that creative work is play already,” Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of Workac, the New York firm that designed the office, tell Bloomberg Businessweek. “As such, [it] does not have to disguise itself to become a playground.”
Most employees value having a nice breakroom, but the kitchen may soon take a starring role in office design, argues business expert Doug Wendt.
As part of its participation in a project promoting office design for the future, design firm SmithGroupJJR left a unique stamp on an office suite in Arlington, Virginia. The office featured the kitchen as one of the main spaces, with whiteboard walls and plenty of seats for collaboration.
Making it easy to snack while working has also been a trend for other companies, too. A partial pantry can be found in the mixed-use space located in Regus Group’s headquarters, while some businesses have stretched the purpose of a space to include working, eating and collaborating .
Forget hot-desking. Some New York companies are letting employees roam the building and work wherever feels comfortable.
At Gerson Lehrman Group, for example, workers can set up shop in a variety of spaces, including coffee bars, lounge areas with couches and even private glass booths.
This approach has saved companies no small amount of money.
If CBRE Group’s Los Angeles office had included desks for all of its 250 workers, the office would need to hold 72,000 square feet of space, rather than 48,000 square feet.
You’ll notice a common thread connecting these four trends. They focus on workers, and what works best for them.
Whether that means letting them work wherever they want, or designing an office that provides a chic and comfortable atmosphere, the best office design concentrates on employees’ needs.
When the right elements are there, the office will be a place where workers can enjoy being on a daily basis.
photo credit: Campaign Monitor via photopin cc