“I think that we can agree that office design 50 years ago had a very different feel and atmosphere to it than the workplaces of today. From the slides at Google’s office to the sleep pod in the startups of Silicon Valley, the features that are sought after in today’s workspaces are things that people of the past would have never dreamed of.
One of the most prominent things that have changed [are] the use of cubicles and the shift to hot desks. With this increase of remote working and the recent and rapid acceptance of its usefulness, we’ve seen a huge pivot to hotdesking. Hotdesking is a method of office operations that allows for a certain number of desks in the space. These are then shared by employees, visitors and the like. There are no specific desk allocations unless they’re necessary, and so people can come and go and use any desk that they like at any point. This is also really useful from a commercial perspective because you have a smaller office space and fewer desks because not everyone in the business will be in the office at one time. So, you don’t have to pay for a larger office and you won’t have to purchase as much furniture.
Something that we’ve also seen a lot more of is the level of sustainability and environmental awareness. This is obviously fantastic because we need to protect and look after the world that we live in and so, by trying to be as sustainable as possible and lower the impact of your office on the world, you’re helping to do just that. So, whether you’re ensuring that your toilets have PIR-activated lighting so that they get switched off after someone leaves rather than being left on all day or you choose to purchase eco-friendly furniture, these are all things that will help. Fifty years ago, these kinds of things weren’t even a mainstream consideration, and so no one really looked into trying to better the environment or lessen their impact on it. This is a very welcomed change over the past 50 years and something that we should be proud of, even if we do have a long path ahead of us.
I think that, in the next 50, we’ll see a few things change and, hopefully, for the better. For example, I think that we’ll see more of a shift toward employee wellness spaces across the board. With this, I mean that more and more people will be looking for an office that has a breakout space that allows for relaxation whenever an employee really needs it. This will obviously require a level of trust between employees and managers because there are those out there that would happily just relax all day rather than do some work. However, there will be those who can act responsibly and use it only when they really need to. The idea is that your employees will be more effective and work well because they can take time out of their day to take their mind off of something stressful. This is often the best time to find a solution for an issue because you’re more likely to be thinking clearly.
Another thing that I’m really excited to see [is] the progression of technology. I love the idea of having wireless-charging laptops all over the office. This pairs very well with the idea that we can create wireless charger desks. With this, we’d see that the wireless chargers are built and integrated into the desk for seamless connectivity. This would aid in achieving a minimalist design, but also help employees who are hotdesking. It means that they don’t have to pull a charger out of their bags — they could just place their laptop on the desk and get to work. Whether you’ll be able to use this kind of setup to connect to a server or send documents easily is something that we’re anticipating, but this kind of progression is something that we’re looking forward to.”