Workspaces for future generations

February 2019 | News

Over time, designing and planning workspaces have undergone several changes, not only because of the need to revamp office furniture and décor, but also due to the generational and cultural transformation itself that takes place within organizations.

Currently, a new paradigm is being generated within the labour market, led by the so-called Millennials (people born between 1980-1995) and supported by Generation Z (people born between 1995 and the middle of the first decade of the 2000s). Both generations will account for more than 50% of the workforce by 2020.  This will cause major changes to be taken into account when designing our workspaces; changes that will aim to attract and retain future talent, offering its users an office that improves their well-being and increases their productivity.

These new generations share a value that they consider vital when working in a company; flexibility, in other words, they want the freedom to decide when and where to work.

Regarding the “when”, little can be done through design in this aspect as it will directly depend on each company’s flexi-time policy. Now, if we talk about the “where”, there is something that can be changed beyond just working from home, based on a design proposal that considers it an added value.

Until recently, we were used to working in a permanent and assigned job, it didn’t matter if the task required concentration or inspiration, the place stayed the same. The reason for this was none other than the lack of technology mobility.

Currently, this limitation has been solved with the use of laptops, mobile phones, documents in the cloud and other technologies, which have allowed employees to gain mobility and share information with the organization from anywhere. This new paradigm makes future workers want the possibility of choosing and changing jobs according to their needs and must be taken into account when planning the space.

There is no longer talk of designing an office simply in terms of the number of jobs and meeting rooms. Nowadays, different areas that respond to all these new needs and that are committed to the well-being of the people need to be offered, so that there is a difference and an added value when it comes to attracting talent.

Modern work environments have five fundamental styles according to Actiu’s Cool Working® methodology:

  • Concentration.
  • Collaboration. 
  • Socializing.
  • Learning.
  • Privacy.

In addition to having these new areas which can be used by employees whenever they want, it is important that they are well conditioned, with aspects that directly influence the perception and well-being. Therefore, new trends include things such as:

  • Biophilic Office. An environment with natural decoration, plants and vertical gardens that enable escaping from the stress of day-to-day life, which leads to improved creativity and well-being and even personal involvement, taking care of a living being and looking out for it.
  • Tribalism. To emphasize the feeling of being part of a community, the spaces should reflect the uniqueness and essence of the company to reinforce that feeling of belonging through creative visual designs that are different.
  • Technology. We are not referring to the technology itself, but rather the spaces adapted to mobility, electrical connections, good Wi-Fi connectivity, screens that allow a computer to be connected, etc. In short, the spaces must facilitate the use of technology in all its areas.
  • Sustainability Environmental awareness is growing and, therefore, it is valued that the company takes into account these aspects that help protect the environment.  This is supported by a zero-waste culture, without paper waste and automation to reduce unnecessary expenses, among other aspects.
  • Comfort. As it is desired that people work throughout the day in different spaces, it is essential that they are conditioned and comfortable to work in, with specific relaxation spaces that can make workers feel as if they are at home.

How offices are designed is constantly evolving, therefore they need to continuously adapt to future generations, be committed to new strategies that are able to capture talent and create places where people want to work, while enhancing productivity and well-being.

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