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Future-proof Your Office

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Office design seems to be an ever-evolving field that moves from one trend to another rather quickly. If you've paid attention to the open office versus private office debate, you'll know what I mean. Though these trends exist, and though they often change and rotate, you can still design an effective office plan that looks to the future. 

Below, I've outlined four areas you can design your office to include that will not go out of date and be ready for the future - no matter where the passing trends of office design lie: Collaboration, Change, Mobility, and Multi-purpose Spaces.

Accomodate Collaboration

An interesting office project that I came across recently was Vodafone's new Netherlands headquarters, where it was built with a collaboration at its core. The designer, OCS Workplaces, cited that in the modern workplace some 80% of all work is done in collaboration with other people. With such a high percentage of work being collaborative in nature, it seems highly unlikely that collaboration will be going away. 

Because of this, companies looking to design an office that will effectively host work functions both in the present and on into the future need to accomodate collaboration. Accommodating collaboration should mean that you're looking to incorporate furniture and technology that reflects how people are collaborating. 

Furniture choices might include Turnstone's Base Camp setting or Steelcase's Media:scape

Accomodate Change

One of the worst things a company can do is to lock in an design and never change. As a business grows, figuring out how to best organize the office space can be a powerful tool - but being stagnant and not looking for opportunities to adjust the workplace based on new needs can be a disaster.

A previous article covered how to think about change and your office:

Plan For Mobility

With smartphones, laptops, tablet computers being almost ubiquitous in society, it is no surprise that planning for mobility is a key part of future-proofing your office. But mobility doesn't just mean adding wifi to the office - it means much more.

Companies that have embraced mobility like Microsoft Amsterdam or Credit Suisse have added hotdesk-style workstations where certain employees - like salespeople - can drop in and get some work done quickly and then leave again. Other companies like Atlassian have added phonebooths or quiet rooms to allow for mobile phone conversations.

Get Rid Of Single-Use Spaces

Office space is expensive and having space sit empty is a complete waste. A good example of this would be having an executive conference room that is only used for board meetings. Companies looking toward the future should plan on having the sections of their office able to handle any variety of activities.

  • Conference spaces can be used for collaboration, quiet work, meetings
  • Lunchrooms can be used for all-hands meetings, events, workspaces

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