What is the ‘workplace of the future’? How will we recognise it when
it’s here? Has it already arrived? We can all see that the work
environment has changed in the last couple of decades: remote working,
virtual conferencing and ‘hot-desking’ have transformed the way we
interact with each other and the spaces around us. Working patterns have
adapted to meet the needs of the workforce as well as the industry, but
what impact does this new landscape have on the worker?
In 1969, the BBC flagship science programme, Tomorrow’s
World, showed us what they thought the workplace of the future might
look like. Audiences were given a vision of a quiet office where a lone
executive sat behind a Perspex desk. His only interaction was with an
automated trolley, wheeling in paperwork to be processed and wheeled
back out again. There was no mention of a place to meet colleagues over a
coffee or during lunch and the future looked lonely.
Luckily the future has, so far, taken us down a different
path. The workplace has recognised the importance of interaction. Open
spaces are included in lots of workspaces, designed to encourage
collaboration. Obviously, we can still see the funny side: BBC’s recent
sitcom W1A uses the pitfalls of “collaboration spaces” and hot-desking
as a central theme in poking some light-hearted fun at modern-day
bureaucracy. But, used right, they can turn the workplace into a gold
mine of ideas and invention.
The results of a survey carried out by Unwork in 2012 suggest
that the office will eventually become a central hub where workers
carry out prescribed tasks before seeking more flexible spaces to come
together in a relaxed environment. Three quarters of CEOs surveyed
believe collaboration is vital to innovation and we agree: we believe
that it’s important for the worker to be present in the workplace. We
want to shape the catering spaces of the future to meet the needs of all
types of worker.
Our webcast, ‘workplaces of the future’ took place on 14
May. We were joined by a range of panellists: Nicola Morris, Managing Director
of 24; Nicola Millard, Customer Futurologist BT; and Luke Connoley, Associate
Director, Unwork. They shared their expert opinions on what they think about
the future of workplaces and how organisations can best prepare to get the most
out of their office spaces in the years to come.
Watch out for opportunities to watch our webcast replay and
to read our supporting white paper, coming your way very soon.