The way we work has shifted dramatically in the last decade, and designers are stepping up to the challenge. Pretoria based RAW studios has for example released their RAW OFFIS range to answer the design questions the new workplace is asking. The new collaborative, connected workplace requires thinking of how people and technology interact for the benefit of employer and employee. Here are two factors, according to Isilay Civan, to consider when designing the new work place:
More people are working remotely and not at their desks.
At any given time, about one-third of all knowledge workers in private and public sectors are working remotely. Only 30 to 40 percent of employees with assigned spaces are actually using them.
Mobility is crucial to today’s workforce. In addition to their offices, employees are working in airplanes, in hotels, at client sites and at home. They need to be supported with technology and business processes that allow them to work effectively wherever they are.
In the workplace, mobility may require more “unassigned” or touchdown space for individuals who are out of the office for a significant portion of the day. Organisations also need flexible space for employees who might be visiting from another floor, building or campus.
Activity-based work settings are on the rise.
Because the nature of today’s work is so complex and unpredictable, a single, all-purpose workstation doesn’t cut it for most knowledge workers. Workplace designers need to provide a variety of “activity settings,” or purpose-built areas for specific activities accessible to all.
Activity settings might include impromptu meeting areas, formal meeting spaces, project rooms, individual work spaces or break areas that make up for the shortcomings of exclusively cellular or open-plan environments.
So when designing the new ‘office’, we need to think how people are behaving, moving, and working before we lock them down at a standardised desk in a standard sized cubicle. In the workplace too, form should follow function or rather form should follow people.