Business culture has undergone a period of transformation during the last decade. Modern companies have challenged the value of rigid corporate culture, instead embracing the modern ethos that promotes productivity by involving itself in employee happiness.
Traditional 9 to 5 schedules have been replaced by flexible working hours, isolated cubicles have been converted into open plan workspaces and mandatory ultra formal attire is no longer necessary.
With change in office lifestyle has come change in workspace design. Designers are having to adjust and come up with innovative ideas to provide efficient furniture and layouts that meet modern needs.
Coffee culture and coworking has led to contemporary office design
Coworking has become the most popular trend of 21st century business culture. It involves a shared working environment where employees are not all employed by the same organisation. A recent survey discovered that there has been a 67% growth in the industry in the last ten years. Advances in technology that make telecommuting a viable option are largely behind the surge in coworking popularity.
One particular branch of the trend is the coffee shop inspired workspace. It’s evocative of trendy East London culture and part of the flat white economy phenomenon. Coffee shops have a long tradition of fuelling creativity. Incorporating them into office layouts is therefore designed to increase productivity, creativity and employee morale.
Coffee shop inspired spaces have a fairly casual approach, often furnished with comfortable sofas, shared desk space and open plan layouts.
Office design has become more environmentally friendly
Climate change and other issues regarding sustainability continue to make headlines around the world.
Businesses have taken preventive measures to boost their PR image by taking steps to protect the environment. For example, the SAP recruitment agency Eursap have announced that they will be planting a tree in The National Forest for every SAP Consultant they successfully place.
Greener workplaces are also much healthier environments for employees to work in. Absenteeism costs UK businesses an estimated £36 billion each year so many are enforcing green initiatives to protect the health of their staff.
Office designers such as Open Workspace Design specialise in creating eco-friendly plans, from thinking about the efficiency of lighting to minimising waste during any refurbishment. Many offices are also introducing house plants and living walls to improve air quality and avoid sick building syndrome.
Telecommuting means there is less need for desk space
The need for workspace has been reduced by the popularity of telecommuting. It’s a popular phenomenon - two-thirds of workers would jump at the chance of working from home while 36% of employees would shun a pay rise in favour of telecommuting.
Businesses have started to embrace telecommuting as a way of reducing the need for permanent office space. Not only can this improve job satisfaction for employees but the financial benefits can be huge for the company too. Now that office–to–residential permitted development rights have been made permanent, developers in the UK are free to turn offices into homes. With vacant property security companies like Oaksure Property Protection, they can heavily reduce expensive business rates too. This means that in cities like London, permanent office space could be harder to find and more expensive.
Less need for storage units because of cloud-based technology
More and more businesses are taking advantage of cloud technology and mobile services. Work can be exchanged and collaborated on electronically via a third-party provider such as Google Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive. The documents are not only shared in house but can also be shared with clients.
Behind-the-scenes interactions can be completed in the cloud too. Contractor accountant 3 Wise Bears has already taken its services online, with cloud-based accountancy software. This provides a separate space for all your accounting invoices and interactions.
The rise of cloud-based software has led to a decluttering of offices. With less need for paper copies of documents, businesses no longer need rows of storage units nor do they need large scale industry printers. This allows for businesses to get creative with their spaces and has led to an increase of minimalist or industrial workspace design.
However, companies that embrace cloud-based software need to be extra vigilant when disposing of the devices that used it. In their blog on data destruction, office clearance specialists Clearance Solutions say that even broken or unusable computers may have functioning hard drives that contain confidential information.
Hard drives can be extracted and put to use in other machines, so make sure old devices undergo thorough data destruction before they are disposed of.
This article was written by i2 Office.