As the nation’s workforce becomes more mobile, it's a good time to think about the work environment trends affecting your office design. According to a Global WorkPlace Analytics study, Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are redesigning their office spaces to accommodate mobile workers. Studies reveal that workers aren't at their desks 50-to-60 percent of the time, whether they're on the road at client sites, telecommuting, or attending meetings.
Is your workplace strategically set up to accommodate the changing workforce? Let’s take a look at four work environment trends that companies are likely to see this year in response to shifting workforce dynamics.
Cubicles and executive suites are giving way to multipurpose spaces. As wireless layouts untether mobile workers to specific locations, there's more of a focus on flexibility. Multipurpose spaces can have several different purposes, such as housing a team meeting, several colleagues working quietly on projects, or a multimedia event, in quick succession. By having flexible spaces that can easily be repurposed based on activity-driven needs, companies are getting more value from their space while keeping up with quickly changing worker needs.
Mobility is influencing the way that offices are designed and laid out, minimizing older, static designs. Collaboration is the new work model. Companies are looking at overall layouts and moveable, modular furniture that can support flexible collaboration. For example, desks with wheels create work group configurations that support specific projects for a period. As work needs change, flexible and modular components are moved around for dynamic layouts that reflect the team's current and most urgent priorities. Overbooked conference rooms or the inability to concentrate no longer hamper collaboration.
Redesigning Touch-Down Spaces
A client support manager may be out of the office for 80 percent of her week, so she doesn't require a dedicated office or huge cubicle. However, her time in the office is critical. Companies are designing simpler and smaller employee spaces to serve as a "touch-down space." A touch-down space is an office area that's designed to facilitate your team's most urgent needs, from quiet time, to answering emails, to a focused space to meet with staff.
Allocating Space by Need and Time in the Office
Rethinking office design is encouraging companies to reevaluate how they allocate space. There is increasing emphasis on factors other than title and rank when assigning and designing workplace environments. In most businesses, space is allocated based on title. A sales director is likely to have a large office, even though he or she may spend 90 percent of their time on the road. Today, companies are allocating space by looking at how much time team members are spending in the office. If an engineer is hard at work in the office for nine hours a day, their space needs are taking priority over more senior employees that spend time traveling or working from client sites.
The latest work environment trends help management support the needs of a mobile workforce, while enabling maximum productivity—whether you're focusing on team building, collaborative projects, or high impact work from individual contributors.