“This is the age of hybrid work: work from home is for individual tasks, and office time is for cooperation. The old fashion of working in the open-space for eight hours a day and five days a week is long gone,” says Jan Andrle, Head of Architecture at CAPEXUS, a leading design & build company.
Our recent webinar discussed how the pandemic has only accelerated the evolution of how we work. The key trend we observe is that with the rapid rise of technology and AI, people spend less and less time dealing with mundane tasks, or they rather complete those at home. In today's office environment, employees care about having spaces that foster collaboration, creativity, flexibility and adaptability.
Andrle defines the ideal modern office as “the hub where people come together with colleagues to connect, rather than spend lonely hours in front of displays. To make offices relevant again, we need the harmony of human-centric design, and technology.”
Let's dive further into modern office trends and real-life examples on how design and technology create the human-centric office spaces that resonate with the needs of today.
01 The Multifunctional Office Trends
“Many might feel that office spaces are getting somewhat irrelevant, but companies still need a place that represents the company culture, and provides employees with opportunities to communicate in person, which they don't have at home. As long as the office environment is motivating and offers options, the employees do come back to it,” says Andrle.
Unlike the offices of early 2000 that focused on the maximized utilization of the ground, and a hierarchical layout, today's offices come with rather multifunctional designs and an all-employees-equal approach.
According to Andrle, there are five trends that drive the full potential of office spaces today:
- 01 Activity-based layout that provides a variety of spaces and functions for different workstyles (individual work, collaborative work, workshops, etc.)
- 02 Biophilic design that benefit from the usage of greenery and plants to empower employee wellbeing, and promote sustainability
- 03 Building technologies that regulate the easy flow of life in the building with services such as smart parcel lockers, keyless access to rooms and bookable amenities and spaces
- 04 A strong well-being focus to put human first by including relaxation spaces and activities, as well as a fine-working HVAC system to avoid sick building syndrome
- 05 Flexible and adaptable space organization that provides multipurpose areas that accommodate all kinds of needs.
Looking at modern office trends from a different angle, as a consequence of the recent disruptions to how we work, companies dedicate less space to their office presence and hence require employees to abide by the hot-desk concept. While many employees are completely fine with adapting, the struggle with hot-desking can go in two ways: employees fight over desks due to overpopulation in the office, or they simply don't come to the office because they don't enjoy this new practice.
In order to make hot-desking work, “It is important to create more options than the dedicated desks where employees can still work, or have meetings. If possible, enable employees to utilize community spaces for casual tasks and meetings, and create work stations with displays for tasks that they need displays to complete. Also offering additional amenities and auxiliary spaces such as a nice lounge area, multifunctional event space, coffee station, or a tech tool that digitizes the hot-desk bookings will help solve the disputes. Simply put, if something is taken from the employees, you need to give something back,” says Andrle.
02 Real-Life Examples – The Evolution of Vodafone Hub & River Corner in Prague, Czech Republic
The survey regarding how Vodafone Czech Republic employees wanted to work showed that the employees preferred to spend 60% of their time working from home, and 40% at the office. At the same time, employees indicated that the office time would be filled with effective meetings, rather than individual work. Employees can also use special quiet zones to relax and generate new ideas, such as in the library, zen garden, study room and so on. Moreover, the concept can be repeated in other countries - the Prague headquarters was chosen as a pilot project.
The new Vodafone office design reflects what employees endeavor – more space for co-creation and inspiration, as well as several deep-work areas. In the 2,500 meters of this hub, only 15% is dedicated to traditional workspaces, with so-called co-creation stations available for employees to meet and brainstorm.
Another great example of a revitalized space is the River Corner building, located at the west bank of Prague's charming Vltava river.
Covering more than 7,000 sqm of office space, River Corner has gone through a complete overhaul in the past year. Before the renovation, the reception area of the River Corner building served only as a waiting room.
The current layout brings a rich mix of spaces and features, such as a bookable meeting area, a lounge area, a coffee station, and more. This makes people actually want to spend time there, rather than using the space as a transitory place.
A few vital steps were implemented to increase the attractiveness of the place:
- a completely new terrace overlooking the river, the castle and the historical center of Prague
- the onboarding of Spaceflow's tenant app to digitize daily operations and connect the community in one ecosystem
- the installation of smart lockers so that parcel management is never again a hassle
- a complete renovation of the reception space that remarkably elevated the look, feeling and use of the area.
Multifunctional design, technology, and customer-centricity are driving the full potential of office spaces today. Examples such as Vodafone Hub and River Corner in Prague showcase that these trends are being implemented to create inspiring spaces – and empower the users of it with a refreshing working environment and life-enabling building technologies.
Check out our upcoming event RExperience to get hyped by new case studies that highlight how technology, design and customer centricity come together in some of the most innovative buildings of modern age, and meet the change-makers behind them.
Photography by Prokop Laichter, Foto Studio Flusser