September 16, 2020
The way we work was forced to change this year. And we’re seeing a trend, not just in hybrid or fully remote options, for companies around the world to adapt their space to fit new needs. We’re seeing a new perspective on the purpose of the office and how the employee works inside it.
Productivity in a remote setting may be at an all-time high, but there’s something crucial missing here…
Studies have shown that it’s the driver for creativity, innovation and strong culture.
And it’s changing the way we design space in order to promote these keys to a thriving business.
The structure itself now has the opportunity to reflect not only a businesses values, but a clear intention for people to connect while they’re in the space – be it one day a week or every day.
What can this look like? Here’s some of our best ideas.
This shift is taking high-density, highly organized space and opening it up for “free range” employees to do their best thinking, creating and innovating in a supportive environment.
Writers Darrel Fullbright and Duncan Lyons at Gesler commented in a recent article that some of our best ideas happen, where? In the shower, on a walk, when we’re tinkering with something and giving our brains space to wander.
Our offices will resemble the natural settings that we are best adapted to and prioritize shared ownership of the space and varied, heightened experiences.
Moving between a variety of work settings or between floors gives more opportunities for interaction and engagement. And moving our work easily into all-season outdoor spaces can provide actual fresh air as well as the ability to spontaneously interact with team members from across verticals and departments.
We’re seeing this happen all over Atlanta and it’s a growing trend in major cities everywhere. A polycentric design is a new way developers are approaching urban projects. This model creates an urban village in which all the amenities an employee might want in their vicinity are within a 15-20 minute walkable radius. It creates a smaller pool of interaction and allows businesses to not only source talent from the community that already share their values, it allows for a more interconnected web of business relationships.
The idea here is that by planning for local, integrated mixed-use districts, we can create potential for healthier, safer, and more connected communities in a time when widespread unknown and healthcare risks are on everyone’s minds.
Imagine, not just the ability to connect with people in the office, but your office being connected to you. What that could mean is a more digitally-driven space that senses or automates the preferences of the people in it. Think desk height, temperature, lighting settings and real-time updates on the air quality. In this new model, physical and digital space are integrated to create a seamlessly connected experience.
Gesler writers David Kramer and Jordan Goldstein comment in an article on the fusion between physical and digital space that, “Historically, technology was integrated into the buildings in a piecemeal way, with each component living independently from the other. The touchless entry doors don’t talk to the security systems, which don’t talk to the digital signage, which don’t talk to the payment transaction systems and so on. As we look ahead to a more seamless and integrated system, that will change.”
These changes and many others illustrate a growing trend in the desire to create safe, regulated, and collaborative space in the workplace. The hope that drives these new settings is one for connection that isn’t broken or interrupted by the challenges we face today. It instead promotes health while keeping the lines of communication open for ongoing creativity and innovative thinking.