What if you were to design the best company on earth to work for? What would it be like? Will you focus on new age technology to heighten the work experience of the millennials and now generation Z whose life is intrinsically woven into everything tech, or, will you focus on new age mantra of well being at the workplace. It’s a fine balance and one that every corporation hopes to strike. Here are 4 thoughts which can help your team visualize a future workspace.
Bringing nature in: There’s enough evidence, the more natural light you bring into your work-spaces, the happier everyone is. Designers are now finding ways to counter the negative physiological and psychological impact of blue light from all our laptops and mobile screens with Biophillic design. These are systems that mimic natural light and regulate our circadian rhythms and are a smart solution for countries not blessed with as much sun as the tropics are. There are firms specializing in biophilic garden environments that improve productivity and wellness. You can do it as well by opting to build in and around trees, designing gardens on walls, green break outs zones within the office and outside in the campus and lots of indoor plotted plants. Voila, you pretty much crack the first and the best-known design secret to employee well-being.
Understanding the “Third Space”: The nature of workforce is changing. We’re entering a decade of digital nomads and gig economy. This new workplace model challenges us to think of design as the new cool “third space” where lines between home and work, personal and professional re blurred. Third spaces will allow people to bring their laptop, who will then choose to work alone or in a group. They will meditate, ideate, collaborate, workout or grab a bite. They will go there when they feel like. Rest of the time, they will work out of home, in an uber or a metro, or even in the cloud. This is great for organizations. It saves them expensive real estate costs. Rethinking work-spaces to align with this dramatic shift of a flexible workforce will be the biggest design requirement in future of work-spaces.
Making the most of technology: From densely packed desks to cubicle format to informal, open plans and now third spaces, offices are evolving. And each of these changes have been matched by even faster developments in technology, enabling communication & collaboration across time zones and geographies. What’s next? Plenty. Augmented reality tools and devices which allow people to collaborate in real time from across the globe using all five senses will be the next big thing in workplace collaboration. From AI transforming boardrooms into multimedia platforms, to digital whiteboards enabling video-enhanced collaboration, workplace technologies will revolutionize our lives, creating a more productive and efficient world. Your workplace design today must keep in mind the coming of age of this technology and combine it with office layouts which transform team collaboration. This is the future of work. And there are challenges too. Security, privacy and confidentiality is the biggest one of shared spaces. No longer can work-spaces be designed without being proactive to protect all devices and data.
Believing that sustainability is no longer just a buzzword: For a number of millennials and generation Z, climate crisis is the most pressing issue. It’s no longer cool to have a workplace which is not sustainable or environmentally conscious. In the 100s of ways that you can make workplaces truly sustainable, being energy efficient and saving 20-30% of your energy costs, is only the beginning. Using sustainable building materials, designing for renewables source of energy, recycling, upcycling, in-house composting, zero waste, water harvesting, water recycling, there are so many little and big things which can make a workspace environmentally conscious. The truly caring workplaces will keep sustainability at the centre of designing or retrofitting an office. The day is not far, when in great places to work, sustainable practices will trump everything else.
Flexible, collaborative, sustainable and green. How much simpler could designing the best company to work for, get?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Manisha Natarajan, Head Marketing, Brand and Communications, Brookfield Properties
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