From the end of employment as we know it to office design on demand, see what the next generation of architects and designers are dreaming up for the office of the future
Seven Predictions for the Future of Work
1. Mastering the Work/Life Balancing Act
People and the organisations they work for will develop better boundaries between work and life to encourage deeper, more meaningful engagement with both. This means learning when to disconnect from tech, an end to multitasking, using analytics to understand when they are in prime condition to work and seeking out jobs that allow them to work during peak performance hours (which may not be 9–5).
2. Making Time for Face Time
The benefits of working at home – pyjamas, productivity – will only fulfil you for so long. Eventually, you’ll be drawn back to the in-person connections you can find in the office. Future Staters see the workplace of the future as a magnet that attracts and focuses energy in a world where a by-product of improving communications technology has a natural tendency to grow the divide between us. They’re pushing designs that promote face time (the non-iPhone variety) in spaces that accelerate authentic connection.
3. An Amazon Approach to Staffing
Soon, the Amazon mindset of “give me what I need, the second I need it”, will apply to more than paper towels and prestige TV. This accelerating need for speed, coupled with a steep rise in the number of freelancers, could create a new way to staff companies. Organisations will be built and rebuilt project-by-project, by handpicking from a large pool of consultants. This post-employee model will let you expedite processes, get to market quicker, design better and faster and innovate productively, all by harnessing the industry’s top talent for the specific task at hand.
4. A Brave New Era of Client Feedback
Future Staters dream of a smart device that could show a design team exactly how people respond to the music, furniture, lighting and general vibe of a space. Once a person’s watch captures the response and the data loads into an app, the app populates a Pinterest page, makes product suggestions and translates a good feeling – one that the client might have struggled to articulate – into tangible design inspiration. Between the watch and the app, you’ll get direct responses to the stimuli in the space and the information you need to act on it.
5. Trending Towards Techno-Optimism
The designers dream that the impossibility of last-minute client requests – cutting half a million pounds from a budget, value engineering a 10-storey building to 8 – might soon be a thing of the past. Across our four events, we heard about robot contractors, next-level modelling software and automated on-demand furniture manufacturing. Despite some of the anxiety the designers tapped into about our personal relationships with tech, when it came to the promise of AI, big data and robotics for aiding the design process, the group was enthusiastic.
6. Office Design on Demand
Today, you hack your office so it better meets your needs (and ask for forgiveness later). What if tomorrow you not only get to influence, but control, a uniquely designed space based on the needs of the moment? Future Staters imagine a new kind of office design technology called Sensify. It’s an app that transforms tech-enhanced white walls in your space into whatever you want them to be. Need a space that inspires you? Program a view of the mountains and project it onto the walls. Boss in town? Reprogram to display the latest customer analytics.
7. The Decentralised Office
It’s great to work from anywhere, but anywhere doesn’t always have the best Wi-Fi or the tech you need to collaborate with partners across the globe. Future Staters see a chance to meet the needs of an increasingly distributed workforce with an increasingly distributed workplace. The global HQ will be gone. In its place, you’ll find a series of Work Pods all over the world, where you can sign in and stay as long as you like.
Herman Miller recently launched the Post-Pandemic Office Collection - OE1 Workspace Collection, the latest in a line of office products that embraces the unpredictability of the future of work by landing squarely at the crossroads of agility, functionality, and modularity. OE1 offers a wide range of items that can be used to create highly varied work settings yet are flexible enough to adapt to growth, new needs or desires, or even the unexpected—like a global pandemic. COVID-19 is certainly leaving an impression on how companies and individuals will work in the future. With vaccines rolling out globally, infection rates dropping, and local governments beginning to increase the occupancy of everything from local parks to restaurants, CEOs around the world are looking for new office solutions to fit the future of work.