Times when the size of offices was directly proportional to the hierarchy in companies have come to an end. Today, the design of offices gives priority to issues such as: how long are you at the office? How do you work with your team? What type of spaces do you need? Now what really matters in an office is its human capital and on these grounds the office is designed. The model of traditional offices is outdated because companies are changing their working methodologies for others more in line with new generations that enter the labour market. These new dynamics require different spaces.
We have changed from seating every day the whole day on the same work station to a more autonomous working methodology both regarding space and time where results are more important than control and presence at the office.
Flexible work vs. traditional model of offices
Corporate cultures have also changed; today they are more open and horizontal and technology helps us work from anywhere and at any time (each place is potentially a work space: a cafe, a park…)
These new corporate cultures come hand in hand with flexible work concepts. According to these studies, around 25% of the world population works flexibly; in less than five years, this figure is expected to double. And flexible work needs a work space to support and boost it.
Moreover the traditional office model is not sustainable due to the misuse of the space it represents. So much that nearly 40% of work stations are empty for many hours and even days while meeting spaces are crowded in this type of office.
Open, flexible and unassigned spaces
Opposite to traditional offices, companies are opting for open spaces to favour new collaborative working spaces. This does by no means involve the disappearance of this type of space. It is about streamline the space according to the activity and real presence in the office of each person.
It is important to balance offices and private areas with open spaces both with assigned and shared stations.
In actual offices common areas boosting team work and the exchange predominate but there are also closed spaces with different features depending on their purpose: to meet, to speak on the phone or to perform works requiring concentration.
The office has to respond to all concerns and needs of its users with a broad range of types of spaces. What is important is a design adapted to work cultures and dynamics of each company.
Offices have become more social
What nobody doubts is that offices have become more social. While the number of offices reduces in around 60%, the areas of interaction are the more demanded spaces in the design of actual offices. In fact, the space reserved to collaborative areas reaches up to 65%.
Flexible work generates a less intensive use of the work stations traditionally assigned and more companies turn to the system of “non-territorial” as an alternative to work stations personally assigned. Work stations today are shared by all.
Many companies opted for the implementation of this type of work stations given the savings associated to the reduction of the space but indeed, this sort of configuration has also involved unexpected benefits from a collaboration incentive between employees to the reduction of paper or the increase of creativity.
More operational stations come with team and coworking spaces which are normally flexible and adaptable and vary depending on the needs of the moment. Offices are completed with different informal and relax areas.
Productivity increases of 20% compared to the traditional office model
The search of savings through the rationalization of spaces is not the only reason for the implementation of new work methodologies. Work and flexible offices are translated into global productivity increases of over 20%. Seventy five per cent of employees declare that flexible work increases work satisfaction and improves the balance between personal and professional life and this translates into economic terms.
In the area of projects of our Web, you may find many examples of benchmark companies that have committed to a new model of offices.