The world is changing and the workplace is an indicator. During the early part of the century, an entirely different typology of employees/professionals emerged. Most companies were bewildered by the sheer difference in their approach to work and their expectations from the physical parameters of the workplace itself. Also, the environment of business itself changed drastically. Business processes have evolved, outreach and communication have reformed and business cycles, longevity and processes improved.
Over the last few years, more companies and industries are realizing the importance of an “identifiable” workspace. Few trends that will dominate the workplace architecture market in 2019 are:
No Set Cubicle Space
Unlike the office of the last century, work happens anywhere and everywhere. Businesses have expanded their boundaries, and people are connected, both physically and through the net. So identification by “cubicle” is neither expected, nor accepted. The work space needs to be an ergonomic and well-connected location, designed to ease interaction and connectivity.
More Collaborative Space
A large part of work today is collaborative, and, happens in a meeting space, which allows small and large teams to come together, discuss, work through problems and generate solutions for emerging opportunities. As a result, the space within an office can be shared; in fact, it is better if it is shared. So a lot of functions such as sales, marketing and administration, can work on “hot desks”.
Health is Wealth
The design of the workspace inclusive of elements like colors, textures, air quality and ergonomics can add to human comfort. The work teams must have a choice of healthy environments where in the workspace must foster and encourage a healthy lifestyle. The quality of air is of utmost importance. Rise in carbon dioxide and other noxious gases cause loss of concentration and low productivity in the short term, and serious health consequences in the long run. An employee who is healthy and alert is an asset to the organisation. Desking systems today are designed to allow people to stand and work which is a much better alternative than to sit all day long.
Lighting is the Key
PoE (Power over Ethernet) and LED systems allow buildings to interact directly and in real time with end users as well as the environment. Lighting that mimics sunlight, and changes with the change in time/ season allows bio rhythms to be maintained. Building cooling and lighting systems also interact with the outside environment as well as user preferences, to create indoor comfort conditions most suited to individual preferences. Smart building solutions also “recognise” people, allowing them to access various parts of the building.
The design and choice of colour, texture and décor is changing and there is an active interest and effort in making spaces feel eclectic. While it is important to maintain a sense of order, there is a strong push towards making places feel “aged” and offer surprises along the way. Different themes and decors in different work and interaction areas, arty pieces of furniture thrown in, and spaces that feels homely. In fact, certain high performance work spaces actually have sleep pods, allowing people to catch a nap, and be refreshed for work and will continue to be a trend in 2019.