There is no single prototype for the workplace of the future. With that said, below are two unmistakable and disparate trends that are currently driving the planning and design of office space:
- Technology, advertising, media and information (TAMI) firms are creating all-encompassing work facilities with an array of amenities intended to not only engage their employees but also encourage them to work on-site and collaborate with each other to develop the branded products, designs and content that generate revenue. For example, Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters includes not only the largest open plan work space in the world but also an array of employee perks including bike repair, a barber shop and multiple dining choices. These perks are designed to increase productivity and ensure the staff doesn’t clock out at 5 PM. When a smaller TAMI company is looking to lease office space in a multi-tenant office building, the available services and facilities, including dining, recreation and shopping within the building and immediate neighborhood, are critical to selecting the most dynamic and creative functional environment.
- Professional service companies (consulting, accounting, insurance, finance, real estate) are employing technology to cultivate a mobile and flexible workforce and de-emphasizing fixed and dedicated personal work spaces in favor of work settings for team and client engagement. At the management level, firms like the accounting and consulting giant PWC have eliminated the concentrated “headquarters executive office floor” in favor of a decentralized management team, spread amongst geographies and connected by technology like Google Hangouts and face-to-face interaction as permitted by travel schedules. Thanks to technology, independent contractors and small business owners can work almost anywhere. Co-working environments like WeWork and The Grind offer not only flexibly designed work spaces with the attractiveness of short-term occupancy commitment but also the opportunity to benefit from interaction with similar firms and professionals.
At Working Mothers Media’s 2016 Work Life Congress: Time. Space. Workplace. (http://www.workingmother.com/work-life-congress-2016), I will be speaking and conducting a seminar for corporate leaders to assess the impact of these key workplace trends on company culture, talent acquisition and employee engagement. Stay tuned.