Future Office
05/16/2015 - 12:39

What will the future office be like? Will it be a sci-fi environment full of robots doing our job for us? Or will it be our second home with all its amenities? My guess is that it will be something in between.

Ever since Bill Gates invented the Windows operating system our working environments have been designed around a personal computer. Workstation ergonomics have been based on working with a desktop monitor and meeting rooms have been built around PowerPoint presentations. Power outlets and cable management have played a big role in an interior designer’s work.

During the next ten years high technology will have a much more significant, yet more invisible role in our working environments. The Internet of Things will mean that almost everything physical in the office will be taken into the cloud. An office worker will use his mobile phone for finding and booking the most suitable space for working. Similarly, he will search for a suitably sized locker for his varying storage needs in a desired location.

The workplace design will evolve around the user needs instead of the personal computer. The user needs will be continuously monitored and the collected data analysed. The workplace changes will be done accordingly, ensuring that the workplace will be optimised for the users at all times.

A personal workstation will be a rare commodity. However, shared workstations will recognise the users as individuals and adjust accordingly. They will operate like a personal trainer encouraging the user for activity during the working day. The workstation will monitor the office worker’s working posture and as a result, it can proactively warn for dangerously long periods of immobility. Physical settings, sounds, lights, and even the colour scheme will change according to the user's alertness and mood.

At the same time, the diversity of the working environment will increase and in addition to the traditional workstations there will be many alternative places for office work. A personal computer will no longer be needed in all tasks. Instead, touch screens will be essential for presenting, sharing and above all processing information in collaboration. Workplaces can be divided into areas for concentration, collaboration, communication and chilling out.

People will no longer work in the office because they have to but because they want to. They will see the benefit of finding the most suitable space for each task at hand. User driven design will be crucial. The workspace won’t be used if the space design is not based on the user needs.

The raison d'être for the future office is social networking and collaboration. Individual work can be done outside the office. Nevertheless, the office will remain the place where the ideas developed through individual work will be processed and evolve into things bringing financial value for the company. The future office will be in a constant competition for attractiveness with other places for working. The offices should be as welcoming and comforting as homes, coffee shops and libraries.

To sum it up, I believe that the future working environment is a combination of various locations; home, public places and the office. The future office itself will be a pleasant, communal place which is flexibly modified according to the ever-changing needs of its users.


 

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VP, Customer Supply Management
Martela Oyj
Director, Education
Martela
Vice President, Innovation to Market
Martela
Interior Architect, Physiotherapist, Physical Training Instructor, 11/2016 - 06/2019, Martela

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