How Co-Working Office Design Will Change The Future Of Work

How Co-Working Office Design Will Change The Future Of Work
Arts & Culture

PSFK's Consulting team looks at how businesses are embracing a more communal approach to office design as a way to cater to the shift toward mobile work styles and encourage greater workplace transparency.

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 2 june 2012

After analysis of hundreds of data points collected around the evolution of work and collaboration, the PSFK Consulting Team noticed that businesses are embracing a more communal approach to office design as a way to cater to the shift toward mobile work styles and to encourage greater workplace transparency. By removing walls and cubicles in favor of more open floor plans, businesses are hoping to stimulate productivity and innovation in a communicative environment where spontaneous interactions can happen across disciplines and teams. This new approach to office flow is also meant to empower individual employees by giving them the flexibility to work wherever, however and with whomever they choose.

Below we’ve included several of the best examples that supported the theme of ‘Co-Working Office Design.’

Open Office Design Uses Shared Activity Spaces To Connect Employees

Internet phone company Skype has fully renovated its Palo Alto office in California to support its 250 plus employees with a series of shared, public spaces designed principally for collaboration. The office’s design is premised on the company’s core belief in the value of shared activity spaces, pushing concentration zones out to the building’s perimeter where it is quieter, and centering collaboration zones along a spine to encourage staff members to ‘meet in the middle.’ Contemplation spaces are interspersed in the form of overlapping casual lounges, while a system of mobile whiteboards called ‘Skype-Its’ are used to capture, broadcast, and disseminate ideas as they occur in real-time across the office.

Collaborative Zones Link Employees To One Another

The office design of furniture manufacturer Steelcase reflects the company’s philosophy that by providing options in how and where employees work, a company will not only attract and retain talent, but also boost productivity. Recognizing the importance of employees understanding the larger details of the projects that they are working on, the office layout allocates ample room for co-working spaces and demarcates less footage to personal areas. One example of a traditional space reinterpreted by Steelcase is their cafeteria, which has been redesigned as a “WorkCafé”—a place for employees to have a healthy meal while still offering the necessary amenities needed for a useful working environment, giving workers a casual space for a productive retreat during their day.

Hotel Caters To Collaborative Workers On The Go

To cater to the needs of an emerging breed of “business nomads,” hotel brand citizenM has created a new space for these guests called SocietyM. Understanding their needs for connectivity, inspiring design and a sense of global belonging, this distinctive hospitality initiative has been created to allow nomadic workers to stay, work, think creatively and interact with clients and fellow guests. SocietyM is located on the ground floor of citizenM Glasgow. The business club was designed by Amsterdam agency concrete, and offers spacious meeting rooms equipped with audio-visual equipment, wipe-clean walls for notes and ideas. There is also a screening room for up to fifty people and a luxurious lounge area with free Wi-Fi.

Opportunities Created By These Innovations:

  • By designing offices that accommodate the various needs and working styles of their employees, organizations can create enjoyable, social work environments that maintain an open feel and foster collaboration while still giving employees areas where they can find respite and work individually.
  • Because spontaneous conversation and directed collaboration can lead to innovation, organizations can design communal spaces where people with varying viewpoints, skill sets and disciplines can co-mingle. Encouraging these behaviors can not only boost a company’s innovation quotient, but also promote a culture of sharing and openness.
  • Open offices design can scale to accommodate the needs of growing and changing workforce. The open layouts breakdown traditional hierarchies, while leveraging innovative interior solutions to promote a healthier and more sustainable workplace through use of natural lighting and shared use of resources.
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