Thanks to new generations with fresh ideas and ever-evolving technology, the needs of the workplace are different than they used to be – and workplace design needs to change to keep up. In the past, the task of designing an office space was straightforward, but that is no longer the case.
Why? Work is still work. In the past, the work itself was not necessarily simpler, but the way people went about it was perhaps more straightforward. Employee demographics, social norms and advances in technology have all affected office design and changed the way we go about it.
Michael O’Neill, office furniture giant Haworth’s senior research strategist, explains “Now we need to consider the impact of mobile technology, employees’ demand for choice over the type and location of their work, and especially the implications of culture on workplace design.”
So, how can an established businesses or new startups effectively design a space where workers today will thrive? Even though you are in the middle of the planning process right now – which could go on for several years – you likely expect to still be in that building years from now. The key is to look further into the future and imagine what the needs for that space will be. What do you want that space to offer your team, and what effect do you want it to have on your company culture?
O’Neill shares his thoughts, “In an earlier era, I was involved in product design for seating with a different company, and the whole emphasis was: how can we make a chair that will allow a person to sit for four or five hours at a time without getting up?”
“That’s because then, workers were tethered to their technology, they had to sit in one place for long periods…We would never do that in today’s world,” he says. “It’s just accepted that you not only will be getting up and moving around frequently, but you should be. It’s a different philosophy.”
As you begin to design your office space, be sure to consider the dominant generations (Gen Y and Millennials). But don’t forget to also accommodate the next generation by creating an inclusive environment. For many workers today, it is not just about the money; it is just as important that the space is a healthy place to work.
Cofounder of British manufacturer Benchmark Sean Sutcliffe says, “Part of trying to do something that makes your working life better is bringing a little bit of fun, a bit of theater, and a bit of drama in.”
Author Bio: Melissa Rayner is the proud owner of Trader Boys, where you can buy quality Los Angeles office furniture. When she isn’t running her family business, she’s busy spending her weekends with her children and 3 wonderful grandchildren.