- Sitting down with Allwork.Space’s Future of Work Podcast, PopHouse’s Director of Strategy Sarah Davis explains how human-centered and data-driven design can coexist, why this melding is important for the future of work, and what to expect from the future of office design.
- The use of technology and how it can improve the lives of occupants has taken a front seat in office design.
- Merging technology and the human touch requires employee feedback, as well as trial and error.
Humans and technology: a pairing that often elicits alarm from professionals worried about their future job security.
But what if there didn’t have to be a choice between one or the other? Rather, what if both entities could improve one another?
That’s exactly what PopHouse Design aims to do.
Sitting down with Allwork.Space’s Future of Work Podcast, PopHouse’s Director of Strategy Sarah Davis explains how human-centered and data-driven design can coexist, why this melding is important for the future of work and what to expect from the future of office design.
Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity.
Humans And Technology: A Match Made In Heaven?
People working alongside technology has the ability to change the landscape of the workplace.
But it requires effort on both ends.
Technology and automation certainly have their role. Who wants to create tables that compare hundreds of office usage data entries with balance reports?
However, where technology lags, workers thrive.
For instance, a report entitled “Resistance to Medical Artificial Intelligence” from the Harvard Business Review shows that patients with unique needs cannot receive the proper care through just artificial intelligence.
The same can be applied to office workers.
Every person has their own specific needs, and technology itself can help companies support these demands by curating data-driven design through a human lens.
For Davis, merging technology and the human touch requires employee feedback, as well as trial and error.
“A lot of it is just starting to play, starting to experiment and discover…why [employees] are coming back in, what they need in the office, and then thinking about the programming to really ultimately determine: Are we shrinking? Are we growing? Are we staying the same size?”
“That’s really dependent on what you need to do with your office and what your team ultimately needs to do with space,” Davis said.
Repurposing Offices For The Teams Of Tomorrow
In recent years, the office has worn many hats. Prior to the pandemic, workspaces began pivoting to wide open spaces with little to no boundaries in an effort to emphasize the importance of collaboration.
Now, the use of technology and how it can improve the lives of occupants has taken a front seat.
For example, sensors can track what days private booths are most popular, giving office managers the ability to better accommodate the needs of workers at any given time.
“As we start a project, we’re really thinking about that human-centered experience, which I think now more than ever, is so important,” said Davis. “I think that has been part of the evolution of my role and the work that we do at PopHouse [by] bringing in the idea of what is a person’s experience when they’re in any physical environment.”
PopHouse attempts to marry technology and people to create the ideal office design, but understands there is nuance in the era of hybrid work models.
Incorporating spaces that are equipped with the right acoustic paneling, for example, makes holding Zoom meetings more effective and less distracting.
Managing an office that is either fully in-person or remote is straightforward in that all workers will require similar accommodations no matter their role. However, when considering the increasingly popular hybrid model that shares both arrangements, design becomes a little trickier.
“As people are moving from one environment to the next, are we having some tension as we change gears from one place to the next?” Davis inquires. “We don’t want that to be the case. We don’t want people to lose momentum as they go through these different environments.”
“Technology really fills in the gap there,” Davis said.