Three Office and Workplace Trends That Every Biz Should Know About
Three Office and Workplace Trends That Every Biz Should Know About
With our recent move to a larger headquarters, we’ve been researching office and workplace environmental trends. Now the 2020s are up and running, it may be a good time to for you to also update your office environment for the new decade. Founders at startups, business leaders, human resources managers and team managers are all responsible for building a company that people want to work for, and that can thrive and grow in an uncertain climate.
The literal foundations of a successful business are the office space that any company takes to house its workforce, with many choices to make along the way. If you work from home or for an all-digital business, then the virtual office space also needs to be an amenable place. Consider these most trends and essentials when it comes to keeping your workers happy and the business growing.
Key trends in this decade include sustainability, wellness and well-being, with a focus on collaboration and community. From closed office doors to open plan and now bright creative spaces, changes in building and office design continue. From towering skyscrapers to ad hoc coworking and drop-in spaces, the layout for work has helped businesses rethink how people can collaborate. 2020 sees tools like Slack, cloud office tools and chatbots moving beyond tech companies, helping all types of business and workers communicate and share information.
Slack puts all workers, regardless of location on the same page, chatbots can save workers looking for information, saves those with knowledge having to repeat it regularly, and HR are happily using bots to field common queries, while sales and marketing can use bots to get across their key messages to huge audiences.
With over 80% percent of office workers spending between 4-9 hours daily at their desk, the need for inspiration is essential. Most businesses must find their own path to office harmony. Progressive companies now recognise the workforce is the driving engine of productivity and they need an environment that will encourage and challenge them to exceed.
Your business doesn’t need a giant slide or games room to attract people to work there. But a daily leaderboard for regular games of Mario Kart, or an interoffice fantasy league football/soccer/cricket tournament can help people get together.
Office Location, Location, Location
Through the eighties, technology parks outside of cities were the conventional choice for any successful growing IT company. They allow for more space, good access for those living in the suburbs and driving to work. They were near other companies, promoting and facilitating face to face professional interactions.
Now the world hates them, slabs of concrete of endless glass with horrible parking wars and soulless facilities. By the 21st century, more people were looking for town or city centre locations that had more of a vibe.
Even though city centre offices can be more expensive and have stricter limits on what can be done to stamp your businesses’ identity on it, startup culture has encouraged new life in rundown areas, promoted healthier and greener commuting. When talking to prospects and new hires, where would they rather work? The bland hell of a biz park or somewhere with a bit of soul to it?
A classic example of the pulls and pushes on a business seeking new premises is Amazon’s search for a new second head office in the US and their requirements, creating quite the political and corporate drama. Also, while Apple invested billions in its new doughnut-shaped headquarters at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino it is effectively yet another big technological park outside of town with the pros and cons that entails.
Office Layout and Organisation
The 2020s also mean changes to the traditional layout. More businesses have virtual or generic reception facilities, while smart companies are putting chatbots and virtual assistants on reception to guide visitors in the right direction. For office layout, people have been dropped together by role, team or seniority, pushed apart in big spaces, crammed in hothouses and other trends.
All that as more people seek to work from home, in a part-time role or are busy on the road working from planes, trains and automobiles. Again, bots and automation, with dashboards and digital project management help people fit in, wherever they are, or if they fall between the round pegs of full-time office worker or more flexible type.
While the need for travel has been limited, what is vital for many offices is a good meeting room or space, specced with HD video conference, HD voice and information sharing facilities. These enable the collective mind, wherever they are based to work together. Unified Communications using the Internet of Things is a new trend, while customer services will look to improve their experience offering with our chatbots, avatars and digital kiosks.
Office Vibe and Flexibility
Into the 2020s, the rise of technology has transformed the typical desk from a bundle of wires connecting PCs, outbreaks of Post-It notes and office supplies into a minimalist area dominated by amazingly thin flatscreens and charging points for the ubiquitous smartphone or executive notebook.
Modern devices have folding screens, better aspect rations, improved keyboards and more power. 2020’s CES show put on a good display of processing grunt and innovation. We might not need a new laptop or smartphone, but there are some tempting models out there come office upgrade season.
Any investment in office technology and state of the art devices show a company takes its staff seriously, and helps the professionals feel valued. Even if it only helps them look good in sales meetings or on the commute. Modern devices also bring added security, the latest operating systems and better integration with cloud services, speeding up the working day.
But offices, notably those still in startup culture or businesses selling themselves as “great places to work”, can go far beyond technology to attract workers. In many office spaces, the old clunky coffee machine has been replaced by a small high-end barista or even a mini Starbucks or Costa. The arrival of a regular massage or reflexology service can help break the stress, along with team yoga exercises and games or exercise rooms. We found one company even has an escape room, to help people break up their day, recharge their batteries and gain inspiration for their next task.
Alongside the office aspects, these spaces are all increasingly common features in companies of all sizes, offering the worker some downtime, relaxation and mindfulness at the office. This fuels happier workers which are, as shown by research from the University of Warwick that happiness boosts productivity by 12%, while unhappy workers will lower it by 10%.
Whatever your company’s next office move, the power of software and soft services that can make it a more engaging and welcoming place are just as important as the number of desks or power sockets. Robots, chatbots and AI will power the next generation of offices, so plan for their arrival today and ensure your people are happy and effective with a broad mix of engagement, distractions and tools that get them focused.