The 5 main office trends for 2015
Attractive new working environment: The 5 main office trends for 2015
Business rivalry is becoming tougher, competitive pressure is increasing. 70% of people still work in traditional, inflexible, cubicles, although driven by the rapid development of information and communication technologies improved flexibility has become the order of the day. Five major trends dominate the workplace and are shaping the planning and design of tomorrow’s offices.
(1) “Total” mobility
Smartphones, tablets and notebooks make the office mobile and independent of location, allowing free access to data anywhere and at any time. Many people also increasingly work in decentralised business centres, at home, or on the move. The options for flexible office work are thus being completely redefined.
(2) Networking of organisations
Companies are developing into network organisations. Classic hierarchies are being increasingly superseded by decentralised networks in which everyone makes a contribution – as a team member and yet independent of time and place. Traditional office work is becoming less important. It is being replaced by new, flexible work patterns which are better adapted to flatter organisational structures.
(3) The key factor - communication
The trend towards decentralisation and flexibility places higher demands on the quality of collaboration. Speed and complexity are the drivers of communication needs. Modern technology provides for speed, complex topics call for direct discussion. This necessitates spatial designs suitable for face-to-face communication on the spot.
(4) Increasing demand for efficiency
Organisational functions determine the use of space: good office architecture will in future be increasingly defined by the demand for efficient work processes. Optimised use of space and clever utilisation concepts for office operations, such as shared spaces, are gaining ever more significance.
(5) Design is becoming more important: offices are getting a noticeable creativity boost
The big IT companies are setting an example, and more and more firms are jumping on the bandwagon. Whether at Google in Zurich or Microsoft in Vienna: all the senses are set to work and dusty old perceptions of offices are abandoned. At times, meetings may take place in a cable car or talks may be held in a comfortable lounge. This extravagance is not, however, an end in itself but serves a higher objective: innovative energy needs social friction in a creative environment.
The consequences of these trends for planning and furnishing offices are reflected in the following designs:
Central zone as a meeting zone
- The central zone is playing an increasingly key role: as a “point of communication” where brainstorming, classic business, and private matters come together. There is a tendency to streamline and downsize the traditional workstation, whilst open spaces close to the workstations move into
- the central zone.
- From simple sit/stand solutions, working cafés or crossways to creative lounges – there are no limits to the ideas for furnishing such meeting zones. Here, corporate culture becomes perceptible in a very vital form. From comfortably vibrant to contemporarily urbane, the central zone represents the modern work lifestyle.
- In connection with the central zone, acoustics are also an important topic (open structures).
Sitting/standing workstations and solutions for stand-up communication
- Workstations which are height-adjustable up to standing height provide for more movement and variety in the office. Height is mostly adjusted electrically or by means of gas springs.
- Short stand-up discussions – with the support of high tables and stools – do not only make sense from an ergonomic point of view, but also have a positive impact on communication itself. Studies show that they are generally more targeted than standard, seated, discussions (e.g. study by the University of Missouri on the growing significance of stand-up meetings).
More compact workstations
- Thanks to mobile and space-saving technology, workstations are again becoming significantly more compact and minimalist (both individual and bench workstations). Open spaces close to the workstations are increasingly being changed into shared spaces such as central zones.
- Even if we are still some way from the paper-free office, storage space requirements are tending to become less. The main reason for this is the advance of digital archiving. Containers, sideboards and trolleys are instead more frequently used for brief discussions at the workstation.
- Screens and organisation panels are becoming more design-oriented, bringing life into the workstation.
Colours and materials
- Varied and distinctive, with no clear trends – although architecturally accented and welcoming. Of significance are stylistically confident colour schemes which stimulate or soothe the mood depending on the purpose of each
- space, without turning the office into a type of Disneyland.
Integration of technology in communication areas
- Professional integration of new visualisation and multimedia technologies into meeting rooms is becoming ever more important. Standardised installation solutions for cabling, presentation and networking are state-of-the-art.
- Whilst wireless LAN has long since found its way into most communication spaces, wireless presentation systems in which a network, projector or television screens can be directly controlled by mobile terminals such as notebooks or tablets using WLAN technologies are also becoming more mainstream.
- Video conferencing – often in the form of web conferences – is rapidly gaining in popularity. This necessitates the planning of suitable space solutions which facilitate high-quality net meetings.