In recent times, shared office and co-working spaces have grown like never before, changing the way we work together. They are a great option for anyone who values collaborative and flexible working space. It’s having a significant impact on the way we understand office space and how it functions.
The concept began a few decades ago as a solution for startups and freelancers who were looking for more affordable workspaces. These alternative spaces meant reduced rent expenses, saving on operating costs, and an attractive working environment. Currently, more than 1 million people on a global level work in co-working spaces, and this number is growing constantly.
Small business flourishes in co-working spaces. These flexible spaces have also influenced the design of traditional, one-company offices. Millennials have grown up in an era where interactivity is commonplace. They’ve grown up with connectivity in their pockets. It’s completely normal to be engrossed in social media while walking down the street. It’s also completely normal to work in a flexible, dynamic space where interactivity with other people in the space is common. It’s not a distraction; it’s a preferred method of socializing while working where you feel a greatest sense of connectivity while still working on your own tasks. Millennials will form almost 50% of the workforce by 2020; all office spaces need to be designed to function the way that suits them best. Millennials are looking for working spaces that inspire creativity, productivity and innovative thinking. The workspaces of the future will rely on technology to help members connect and cooperate.
Here’s how co-working spaces will continue to impact workspace design in the coming years:
Death of the cubicle
Cubicles were commonplace for many workplaces a few short years ago. While they still serve a purpose, we see companies slowly shifting away from the idea of working in isolation. In years gone by, junior office workers would be allocated a cubicle and work toward becoming more senior and earning a private office of there own. A big corner office all to yourself was the goal. Working in isolation was valued however that mindset is shifting. Agile working, hot desking, and activity-based working space are just a few models that businesses are now introducing.
Having a community space is the new office norm! Previously unheard of, this space is where employees will interact and hold informal meetings throughout the day. If you want your space to appeal to millennial employees, then consider a standing meeting room, nooks, and phone booths.
Move away solid walls, here come the glass walls! The offices of the future will use very few solid walls and only for specific purposes. Glass walls help us define spaces yet keep the office feeling open, interactive and inclusive. Where solid walls are used, they are no longer plain and boring, they are an opportunity to use graphics, creative installations, and eclectic artwork.
Forget carpet tiles
In the past, all offices had nylon carpet tiles on their floor. However, offices of the future may favor polished concrete, timber, and high-quality carpets. Rugs and carpets may be used purposefully in meeting spaces to control acoustics or define spaces. Designers are also exploring flooring materials that bring warmth and a stylish touch.
No more grid ceilings! In fact in many instances, no more ceilings. Designers now may leave the ceilings open and the above services exposed. This not only makes the space look interesting but also adds a sense of space. Wooden rafters, metal ceilings, acoustic materials and fabric elements can also be used functionally, but also with design in mind.
In many modern offices, about 30% of the seats are located in the community spaces. Most of this furniture is flexible and moveable so the space can be adjusted to function in the way you need it to at the time. It also helps to satisfy both the aesthetic and functional needs of your workplace.
Instead of the fluorescent lights, designers now use light fixtures that serve as decorative elements and provide a greater quality of light. To create a more inviting feeling, they choose warmer LED lighting, standing lamps, as well as side lamps.
The popularity of co-working spaces has definitely influenced the design of corporate offices and will continue to do so. As well as the functionality and aesthetics, good design considers the engineering and energy-efficiency of a space. As the workforce continues to evolve and continues to move toward interactivity and collaboration as values, we believe this trend will continue for many years ahead.
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