People were never meant to work in boxes. Thankfully, mobile technology has helped break the shackles that have kept employees tethered to their desks for so long and ushered in a new era of openness, flexibility, and comfort in offices that are beginning to look and feel more like home.
To that point, Kevin Kuske, author of a recent Business News Daily article, observed having choice and control are important when it comes to designing effective workplaces where creativity can flourish.
“Different types of work are best done in different settings, and all of that flexibility can’t be delivered by one desk and chair,” he observed. “Is that how you work at home? Serendipity does not only happen sitting next to the same person every day.”
As Kuske alludes in his article, among the defining characteristics of the new workplace is a sense of freedom and comfort reminiscent of residential environments—a fact that makes perfect sense given the number of telecommuters and independent contractors in today’s workforce. In fact, according to Gensler’s 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey, 40 percent of the U.S. workforce is estimated to be independently employed by 2020. As such, the survey revealed many companies are struggling to attract and retain good talent, just as emerging technologies and co-working trends (see “Trend Alert”, July-August 2015 issue, page 68) empower more workers to step out of the corporate structure and become freelance consultants that work from home or other “third places”, such as coffee shops and libraries.
With the lines between home and work becoming almost obsolete now that people can work anywhere a Wi-Fi connection is available, commercial buildings are taking on a distinctly residential, or “resi-mercial”, aesthetic, blending the best of both worlds and opening up opportunities and challenges for facility executives.
Photos: Richard Johnson