With the influx of Millennials and Generation Y fully immersing themselves in today’s workforce, this cohort and its evolving needs are interacting with more-entrenched Generation X and Baby Boomers. Combined with increased awareness regarding wellness initiatives, sustainability and the ever-evolving world of technology, there is a fascinating impact on the world of office design as we know it in 2019.
It’s become clear that different generations of employees, and various disciplines like sales executives or creative professionals, have widely different likes and dislikes for the spaces in which they conduct their work. This has a massive impact in today’s job market, where attracting and retaining quality employees is becoming a challenge for most businesses. Enter flexible office space, where companies offer versatile workspace solutions catered to the user’s needs. Real estate services firm JLL predicts that 30 per cent of all office space will be flexible by 2030. Per JLL’s Bernice Boucher for Work Design magazine:
Leading organizations are casting off traditional workplace rules in favor of spaces that look nothing like the traditional offices of the past. Today’s covetable workplaces offer a pleasant juxtaposition of work, play and calm areas—rather than just workspaces. They’re also enabling collaborative and mobile working options, freeing employees and contractors alike from the shackles of their desk, at any given address.
Biophilic design is an office design trend where elements of nature are incorporated into the workspace design. Companies are going much further than simply adding a potted plant here and there – natural elements like wood and stone incorporated right into the building design can have a calming effect on office spaces. Combine that with enhanced features like living walls, ample natural light and even water features, employees feel a heightened ecological connection to their place of work.
Other wellness initiatives such as offering healthy snacks or fitness and meditation programs are all said to have a great impact on employee health and engagement. Programs such WELL Certification are playing part in making commercial properties, and employers, more attractive to prospective employees.
ArchDaily reports a significant increase in searches of its website for local, low-cost building materials. The site also reported an increase in searches for construction details, which it says indicates a concern to better address all parts of a project.
Add in the ever-evolving world of technology, and office design becomes even more dynamic. Mobile devices, smart technology and personal assistants are all coming into play in the world of office design. As Madeline Dunsmore, Newmark Knight Franks’ regional workplace manager writes for Facility Executive:
Since nearly everyone has a smartphone, room sensors could be programmed to pull up meeting-specific information or dial into a video conference as a particular employee enters the room, to assist with navigation when visiting a new office campus, or to update headcounts for office events based on the phones in proximity. Company-branded apps can automate workspace tasks — allowing employees to reserve a parking spot, locate an open conference room, log an IT ticket, or update HR information from within the same portal.