David Bowie certainly knew a lot about changing and so do offices. Decade after decade, we’ve seen changes in the office landscape (check out Wired’s Evolution of Office Spaces). Employers often look for ways to boost or maintain employee morale, productivity, teamwork and autonomy all at the same time. Office planning is one of the first places where they start.
When trying to create the “right” environment for their office, many employers look to current trends in office planning. One of the biggest trends right now is to “open” up the office by removing the cubicle walls that were ever-so-popular in the 80s and 90s.
Open office spaces (think “modern Mad Men ‘bullpen’”) are generally created to encourage teamwork and to observe and learn from others. It’s important to get open office planning right (i.e., striking the right balance of openness and privacy), as companies want to promote communication, but also prevent distraction. Workspace Design Magazine also sheds light on different challenges and solutions for employees and office designers in their article entitled, “Change is Changing — The Next Workspace.”
Another change in the office landscape is not having offices at all. Many people work from home nowadays and are fully-capable of doing so. Due to the advances in teleworking software and the widespread use of email, it is easier than ever for employees to stay connected with colleagues and clients without even stepping into a physical office space.
For those stay-at-home employees and freelancers who still desire to be in an office every once and awhile, shared office spaces (aka coworking) have risen in popularity due to practical concerns over economics and desired flexible work environments, as well as improved efficiency for teams and employees that work alone. Often times, freelancers work by themselves so regularly that they crave the vibe of working in a collaborative environment and need a change of scenery. Coworking spaces are just the cure for their working-alone blues.