Office space

“Workspaces need to become more of a partner in your work, encouraging focus and productivity, helping employees to develop professionally.”

Dealing with disruption in the office environment will be a major challenge for employers in the future as technologies increasingly affect businesses and the way we work, according to commercial architecture and workspace design firm, Steelcase.

Addressing the CoreNet Global Summit 2015 which took place in London this week the theme of the day focused on disruptive innovation, looking at how our perception of physical space is changing and how this will redefine our experiences in the future, particularly when it comes to understanding our working environment.

In his talk entitled Will You Disrupt or be Disrupted? The Game Changing Factors of Our Future Work Experiences, Nicolas de Benoist, director of insight-led experience at Steelcase, explored the ways in which we are re-conceptualising our workspaces.

He said: “More and more, technologies disrupt our relationship to the world, our physical, emotional, and cognitive systems. 

“Workspaces need to become more of a partner in your work, encouraging focus and productivity, helping employees to develop professionally. Companies need to re-configure their established rituals and put their employees in a modality that doesn’t necessarily belong to the language of work.

“No one size fits all when it comes to encouraging productivity among employees. Instead, the spatial experience of work needs to be re-thought, moving away from the formal setting of the office and thinking about it in more of an unconventional way.

“Although we have become accustomed to the style of the formal and rigid office, we need to recognise that this is not always the best way of fostering creativity among employees. The spatial experience of work doesn’t always need to be the same. In the future we’ll be able to produce much more complex architectural shapes which will enrich our sensitive satisfaction and will even be alive to a degree, for instance through robotics applied to architecture. Also alternative real estate models can be explored and provide greater diversity thanks to the sharing economy.

“There is therefore an opportunity to take advantage of the changing environment – new models arise that provide variety, such as repurposing unused buildings to offer unique work experiences.

“We can open up new ways of approaching architecture and real estate when it comes to the office environment. Employees have amazing potential, however it is limited by their rigid workspaces. We need to design an environment in which they can thrive, express themselves and explore their potential. Companies need to think outside the box and create workspaces that allow their employee’s productivity to reach its full potential.”