A recent white paper published by Haworth, a global leader in office furniture, reviewed over 150 publications on the work place to determine trends in office space. The unanimous opinions of the experts were that there will always be a need to maintain a work place for most organizations. That was a big relief not only for Haworth, but for me. These work spaces will become instrumental for maintaining relationships, working collaboratively, fostering employee engagement and sparking creativity. Apparently studies are showing that hanging around the water cooler can facilitate productivity.
The Haworth white paper noted four major trends in the office space of the future. First, the work place is no longer a one-size fits all solution. With the significant improvements in technology, employees can seamlessly move from a home office, to a private work place office to a drop-in workstation or team room. Workers can collaborate virtually with one another.
The second trend is that our sense of “place” is becoming more liberated. Hoteling and other work place strategies are freeing work spaces from individual “ownership”. Many organizations are converting space into more collaborative areas.
The fact that our work spaces are shrinking is the third trend. The average work space today is ONE-THIRD the size of 1970’s work space. The amount of private offices is being dramatically reduced. The amount of square footage per employee is shrinking. This results in savings for a company’s real estate expenses.
Finally, the work place remains important, but its role is evolving. Today’s organizations are using their offices to emphasize their brand, reinforce worker engagement and anchor loyalties for both employees and clients. The work place will continue to have numerous activities and will continue to evolve as incubators for creative and innovative interactions.
For the full article, visit www.haworth.com and click on their library of white papers.