Although very practical, the need to create intentional spaces, for both work and play have become essential to make the most of our working days.
As our approach to work continues to evolve at a rapid rate, it’s incredible to think how different our workspaces might look in the next five to ten years.
With advances in technology and an ongoing shift towards more collaborative spaces and software applications, our future workplaces seem to be on track to become spaces in which innovation is valued and a variety of digital tools make communication as simple as possible. Although there might be too many innovative concepts to cover in one article, here are just four key areas of innovation in the design of the future workplace that we’re keeping an eye on:
In June this year, the London Festival of Architecture focused on the relationship between architecture and work, with the theme of the festival being “Work in Progress”. The festival highlighted various examples of architectural innovation from students and thought leaders in the field- an indication of the way in which urban planners and designers in cosmopolitan cities like London are having to think about the relationship between work and wellbeing in a growing urban metropolis. In the talk below by architect Carlo Ratti, various elements of the changing workplace are discussed, including the way in which work is evolving as a result of greater connectivity:
- Software and Digital Tools
With increasing access to the internet, the future workplace is also set to become both more interconnected and able to facilitate independent work. According to an infographic put together by Quickbooks, there has been a significant move towards telecommuting in the last ten or so years. With access to an internet connection, employees can work from home or a location more convenient to them, with the additional support of collaborative software programmes and communication tools to facilitate easy communication.
However, although many think this might signal an anti-social shift from camaraderie and shared ideas, the need to innovate also requires that workplaces facilitate the kinds of environments conducive to sharing ideas, evident in the increase of open plan workspaces made famous by Google, and other startup companies such as SoundCloud and Airbnb.
- Incorporating Nature into the Workplace
As we move towards an increasingly digitally connected world, with our smartphones becoming an extension of our personalities, there is a concern that we’re becoming removed from nature, and disconnected from the importance of the natural world. However, in contrast to a gloomy future of urban decay and only concrete high rises, many architects and designers see the incorporation of nature into the workplace as an essential element of the current and future workplace.
We all know how essential it is to have natural light, and the benefits of nature, even when experienced in digital form, have been proven to have a positive effect on productivity. With these considerations in mind, it makes sense that there are architects and designers focused on what is called Biophilic Design, which involves incorporating natural elements, and nature itself, into the workplace.
- Robotics and AI
Although it might be somewhat scary to think about the possibility of robots being able to take on human tasks, recent developments suggest that it won’t be too long before robots will become part of our everyday lives. At the recent Fortune Global Forum, a panel discussion about robotics and the future of work lead to the consensus that although it might be possible that robots could take the place of humans when it comes to unskilled tasks, experts agreed that it will still be a while before robots are advanced enough to pose a real threat. For now, the possibility of using robotics in the workplace to perform unskilled tasks has actually been reframed as an opportunity to future generations to become more highly skilled, with even greater implications for the evolution of jobs and the workplace in general.