Looking ahead to a new year, we expect to see office design continue its evolution from the hallway lined with offices to a more open and collaborative space. Here’s a look at where we are and where we’re likely to go in 2016.
The Open Office
The modern workplace has been heavily influenced by the socially minded millennial generation, which shows a preference for collaborative work and open workspaces over traditional individual offices. The trend has taken hold, and according to Forbes, over 70% of American employees now work in “open concept” offices.
The open concept was popularized to a high degree by the tech industry, which encourages collaboration and innovation. These types of companies favor shared spaces, designed for specific tasks rather than for specific people. Google has famously innovative office spaces, which include features like a fireman’s pole to get employees from one level to another in their Ontario office. Facebook is planning a new space that will put 2800 engineers in one massive room encompassing over 435,000 square feet.
Some are beginning to feel that we’ve swung to far in the direction of openness, at the expense of productivity. While there may be some moderation, the trend of the open office will continue in the coming year, and firms will be looking for more common space than was the case 20 years ago.
Another item on the employee wish list is an office with lifestyle amenities. Features like lounges, outdoor space, and gourmet food choices are becoming more common in the workplace as employers look for ways to attract and retain the best talent. When the office is an enjoyable place to be, productivity increases and absenteeism declines. Tenants will be looking for spaces that can make this happen.
Beefed-Up Tech Infrastructure
The importance of technology to any type of work can’t be overstated. That being said, office design must place a priority on infrastructure to support the technology requirements of tenants. This encompasses adequate bandwidth, high performance telecommunications, and well-placed access points. Many tenants are also on the lookout for smart building technology, which allows for automatic management of systems and security.
Green Building Practices
Smart technology can also enhance energy efficiency, and that is a prominent concern of office tenants. Many prefer to lease LEED certified space and see energy conservation as both a cost saving and a desirable part of their company’s image. Considerations like energy efficient lighting and green construction are very important to many employers, and generally have a positive impact on productivity.
An emphasis on efficiency and flexibility seems to be the order of the day for office space as we move into 2016. Office design must be responsive and offer tenants the options that meet their needs and provide an enjoyable and functional space for employees.
The modern workplace is changing fast...
Are you keeping up?