- Condeco recently published its 2018 workplace trends
- Great design is key to creating the best workplace experience and it can improve productivity, creativity, and wellbeing
- Wellness, both physical and mental, continues to rule and dictate workplace design
Condeco, together with WORKTECH Academy, recently published its 2018 Workplace Trends, which “examines the latest research from across the globe, looking at the latest robotic and AI technology, activity based working, smart buildings and how the office environment can support our human needs around wellness, community, job satisfaction, and productivity.”
The key takeaway is that design can make or break a workplace. Great design has the power to bring people together, to create a fluid environment, to boost productivity and creativity, to incorporate new technologies, and to make us feel our best — both physically and mentally.
Therefore, careful thought should be put into how we create workplace environments, after all “the work environment is no longer just about working — it’s a space where we spend a significant amount of time that transcends traditional working ways.”
According to Condeco, the above has led to the rise of hybrid spaces, which in turn has had a “positive increase in mobility, agility and a feeling of membership of community.” Hybrid spaces, when designed properly, combine elements that improve our productivity, collaboration, and wellbeing; and most importantly of all, they give us choice.
Today’s digital and connected world means that workspaces need to be able to seamlessly incorporate technology. Technology is becoming more human, and workspaces that use intuitive technology will find themselves creating better environments and experiences for the end user. “Workplace technology will be stronger, (to the point where it will be) learning, predicting, solving, and enhancing” our day to day work activities.
Part of this is due to the fact that routine will become highly robotic. “AI is set to eventually take over our everyday workplace routine, leaving the talent more time and ownership to take care of the important stuff.(…) This will free up human capacity to focus on more strategic and creative tasks.” And the built environment needs to be able to support this.
On the line of technology, smart and cognitive buildings can also help create a better work environment. These types of buildings can “increase levels of productivity, creativity and innovation through a tailored experience that can positively influence how work is done.” This supports professionals and enhances the overall workplace experience as smart buildings have the potential to adjust to individual needs, therefore supporting their health and wellbeing.
Nonetheless, even with tech taking over, we can’t forget about the more human, natural touch. Which is why biophilic design should be at the front and center of any workplace. “Incorporating nature into the workplace can help improve levels of wellbeing, happiness, creativity, and productivity.” To do this successfully, Condeco and WORKTECH recommend using bare wood, integrating greenery into the space, using plants, trees and flowers where possible; and using natural light to create an energizing and stimulating space.
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Beyond key elements like those, the modern workplace requires fluidity. Fluidity can be accomplished by incorporating: 1) landing zones, communal seating and comfortable chairs (that) are positioned around main staircases, prompting spontaneous collisions, 2) the widespread use of portable technology means that workers are untethered from their desks, which encourages fluid and agile working, 3) adaptable space gives workers more choice to suit their workstyle, and 4) great coffee (amenities overall) helps attract and retain individuals.
A fluid workplace will also lead to a fluid network, “which promotes learning, growth and community.” Long gone are the days of looking up; we are now looking sideways for guidance and help. Fluid networks allow for people to build on each other’s ideas quickly and effectively, it enables mutual trust and gives resilience to the community.
Community also highly depends on design; culture should dictate design, not the other way around. Workplace design should encourage communication and socialising. Condeco suggests looking “to the urban design principles of placemaking and community creation to invite more vibrancy to our workspaces.”
Design also needs to be mindful, especially as wellness continues to be a key focus in today’s workplace. We need more awareness, but we also need to place coping strategies, such as mindfulness, at the forefront of workplace initiatives. Condeco and WORKTECH list seven principles of mindful design: 1) curiosity, 2) creativity, 3) compassion, 4) craftsmanship, 5) collaboration, 6) communication, and 7) critical intelligence.
The second of those principles, creativity, “is something we are always chasing in the workplace.” Luckily, there are various environmental cues that support creativity: good lighting, furniture that supports pinning up ideas and graphics, and separate quiet and social areas that support different types of tasks.
Taking a holistic, integral approach to workplace design will also help attract and retain talent and clients. And it’s important that we keep in mind that we aren’t just talking about millennial talent; there are other, older and younger, generations that have much to offer to the modern workplace, and a successful work environment is one that will be able to cater to different generations.