It is a strategic asset to express unique corporate value, brand and cultural messages. All these ongoing changes are driving workplace planning to be more complex and detailed. Designers not only balance the different needs of business development and property costs, but also make workplace design solutions in line with the mission of the company and sustain the company's competitive advantage.
Nurture the corporate culture: Workplace is a tool for nurturing and expressing corporate culture.
Attract and retain talents: A workplace is not only designed for employees to meet with the customers but also a place where dynamic activities occur.
Encourage innovation and creativity: Sustainable innovation and creativity are essential for every company to obtain and maintain the corporate competitive advantages.
Optimize space utilization: Every company ever drives to optimize the property management for saving costs and maximize asset returns.
Foster collaboration: The open and collaborative workplace is now a common design for companies. However, there are still many details working to enhance better cross-departmental communication.
Everyone desires for an awesome workplace. The workplace of mega-tech companies become the benchmark across industries. The reason behind this trend is simple. The comfortable and collaborative working environment is now the king. People pay more attention to flexible and community workplace with different functional spaces, multi-faceted large displays, cafe-style furniture...etc, that drives the workplace design to a new direction.
The reasons for the change of a workplace to be like homes and even hotels are as follow:
1) Attract and retain talents.
2) Employees’ perception and needs for the workplace are changing.
3) Many companies are no longer satisfied with the traditional workplace planning and designs.
4) Companies wish to give an unforgettable impression and experience to customers and employees.
5) Smaller workstations provide more spaces for collaborative areas.
6) People avoid bulky cabinets.
Having influenced by modern hotel design, the rising needs for collaboration between employees, and the chase for aesthetics, workplace designers are looking for ways to create more casual working spaces.
1) Focus more on the designs of supporting facilities to provide better experience for technology applications, leisure and catering, etc.
2) Make use of “Bar-liked” designs and maximize the collaborative areas to create a causal and comfortable atmosphere.
3) Create parking space for bicycles and other functional areas like shower rooms and changing rooms.
The rapid development of new technologies, the continuous change of industrial standards, and the tight property budgets are always the challenges that confront to the workplace designers.
1) The uncertainty of the business world drives to improve the space adaptability. The market is ever changing and so do our workplace. The demand for flexible and dynamic workplace has reached an unprecedented level. Many companies are using a particular space from the entire office to experience new space concept. They may use 2% budget to create sample spaces and get their experience. Some other companies provide dynamic and modular furniture for their employees so that they can configure the spaces they need. Through observation, the companies grasp the usage habits of employees and formulate workplace designs and strategies on this basis. Furthermore, dynamic and modular furniture are getting more popular because of its mobility and versatility.
2) More companies choose for co-working. Co-working is a new trend in the market. Adopting this workplace design can foster innovation, communication and collaboration. Like IBM, some companies cooperate with co-working space providers, while some companies, like Verizon, creates co-working areas within their workplaces. Some others companies work with Business Incubators and universities for the same purpose. Whatever it is, co-working is to shape team spirits and improve better work efficiency.
3) The challenge caused by changes in industrial standards. It is a common consensus among designers to solve the industrial problems by determining industry standards. Like the sustainability standard - LEED and the new healthy building standard – WELL, they brings new challenges to the design works and increase its complexity.
4) Customers value their own corporate culture. Workplace design by itself cannot solve it all. A good workplace design must be suitable for corporate culture to maximize the functions of the workplace. Meanwhile, the leadership style and equality awareness of management will also affect the workplace design. Designers should understand their ideas and needs when formulating solutions, and the solutions proposed should be targeted. However, the leaders’ advices are sometimes influenced by the industries and competitors which are not suitable for their corporate culture. Workplace designers should persuade and drive them back onto the right track. In order to succeed under the new challenges in workplace design, workplace designers should:
- Understand your customers’ needs. Dig deep to fully understand your customers’ needs and guide them to understand their needs of working environment when necessary.
- Try, adjust, test and repeat. Sometimes, a trial area may be important to verify whether your spatial planning and design is able to fulfill your customers’ needs.
- Benchmark other people’s successful experience. Studying success stories and experience from other people can help you and your customers understand their needs and find the most suitable approach.
- Utilize new technologies to optimize workplace. With the use of mobile apps and sensors, you may track the usage data of open spaces, meeting rooms, etc for better space planning and optimize the use efficiency.
Like the “Neighbourhood Concept” by Lamex and their new “Playces” furniture collection, Our workplace is transforming into a dynamic place where is the combination of office, hotel, cafe and wellness center.
Technology is now changing the way we work. The wireless network, cloud technology and smart devices enable us to work anytime and anywhere. Work and leisure boundaries are blurred, and there is no turning back. Our workplace is evolving to be a wonderful combination of office, hotel, cafe and wellness centre. It is a place where our community gathers to work, place, and rest.