A Glimpse into Your 2020 Office

This article was updated on 22 May, 2017

In less than five years, you will likely be renewing your lease. Technological advancements combined with rapidly shifting working practices are changing the way we work, and how we look at office space.  In fact, the office space of 2020 may not be focused on “space” at all.

We investigate the most significant trends shaping the office of tomorrow.

A Culture of Generational Mixing Becomes the Norm

The professionals

Image Credit – Peg Design

 

A corporate culture of “generational mixing” is becoming increasingly evident inside the world’s most of the world’s top employers. A recent independent study done by professional social networking site LinkedIn identifies the 40 most attractive employers in the world, and throughout the diverse list of companies both young and old, the importance of a collaborative and diverse culture is highlighted.

With the “Baby Boomer” generation likely staying on the payroll for longer combined with the flattening of traditional corporate hierarchies, the office of 2020 will be “ageless” seeing all generations sharing space, ideas, income and job titles. Instead of a defined hierarchy, companies structure their work-force into diverse, multi-disciplinary teams who work in a more collaborative fashion. It is already common practice at internet or start-up companies, and the corporate cultures of the Ubers and Googles of the world will become more common practice across various industries. Team work, collaboration and co-working therefore becomes a learned skill, instead of an attitude.

Work/Life Balance Becomes Obsolete

Virtual Reality and Wearable Technology in the office

We tend to forget that today’s smartphones are mini supercomputers. A former micro-processor development exec at IBM compared the original 1966 Apollo Guidance Computer to the chip inside the Apple iPhone 6, and argues that the popular smartphone is (theoretically) 120 000 000 times faster than Apollo in terms of overall performance.

The level of technology in our mobile devices allows us to complete a host of complex tasks in a timely and contextual manner that once seemed impossible. An increased focus on wearable technology, dependency on the internet of things (IoT), the cloud and “mobile everything” has blended our work and personal lives into one. Therefore, Work/Life balance becomes increasingly irrelevant as we are already all linked to work 24/7, whether we like it or not.

A recent report and survey by Google titled “Workplace 2020” supports this trend, stating that “flexible working will be the defining characteristic of the future workplace”. With more employers offering flexi-time to employees and opportunities to work remotely, the trend will see the traditional concepts of “work” and “office” become uncoupled and an increased focus on accountability on individual performance. Advances in Virtual Reality Technology will allow teams to have meetings anywhere and anytime, which makes long days at the office unnecessary.

The Dedicated Desk Becomes an Archaic Concept

In line with current trends in modern space planning and design, companies are fitting out their offices in an activity-focused or “hot-desking” style – where work environments are constructed around various work conditions popularized by the preferences of millennials. By creating a space plan around pocket areas of activity or concentration, employees move around the office and into various work environments to best suit their daily work process. Senior Vice President for Workplace Strategy at JLL confirms this trend, stating that “the workplace itself must support this new approach to work – and that means more than just open-plan offices. When employers provide people with the choice of work in a setting where they will work best, the rewards are meaningful.”

Moving throughout the office with your ever connected wearable technology into contexts that would best support the type of work you are focusing on will become an industry norm. Further considering the increasing focus (and pressure) on companies to adhere to the latest standards in sustainability in green building practices, a dedicated desk per person becomes something of a burden on both the bottom line and the planet.

Want to learn more about activity-based work environments? Click here

The Office transforms into a Premium Service

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Image Credit – TechWeek Europe/Samsung

 

Our increased dependence on demand-driven technologies is shifting focus away from products to a world of services. The rise of the sharing economy valuing access over ownership is reflected in today’s many innovative “on-demand” services, already offering us food, accommodation and transportation in an instant.

The trend is also evident in the popularity of serviced office space or co-working solutions amongst small start-ups and “solo-preneurs” in particular. Combined with the increasing focus on flexi-time and virtual reality making it possible to work from anywhere, the office of the future is best described as a blend between today’s serviced office space, a hotel and the traditional long-term office solution. With a focus on distinct benefits, convenience and premium amenities, employees will be motivated to leverage the work place as a platform from which to enhance their work and collaborative efforts.

The resources in question are not services employees would typically have access to in their personal capacities, so we’re talking about much more than the great coffee machine. Specialized services such as on-site medical care, day care, veterinary care, laundry services, private transport and superior technology resources are already part of some employee value propositions today. Considering future advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, leaving the office and arriving to your autonomous vehicle stocked with your desired groceries, dry cleaning and that anniversary gift your forgot about does not seem so far-fetched anymore.

 

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