21st Century Learning Environments
In the past few years, my fervor has grown by leaps and bounds as the old industrial model has started evolving through new pedagogies and…
Giving employees options allows them to do their best in spaces that make them feel their best, while leaning on technology that increasingly allows them to work when and where they need to; sitting at a desk is no longer necessary to get their job done.
Diversity of workspace and personal choice, then, has become imperative. The large, personal desk or \enclosed office is quickly becoming obsolete in many workplaces; staff desire to be mobile, choosing their space to work on a given task. For instance, for an uninterrupted few hours they may choose a small conference room that provides that necessary isolation but the rest of their day may be spent sitting at a communal table with coworkers from other departments, or finding a comfortable lounge chair to send out emails. Hot-desking is becoming increasingly common—that means employees can check out a desk each day to do their work but it doesn’t have to be the same work area day after day. In larger markets, real-estate costs are another driver. Rather than assigning desks for 100% of the staff, they can design for 70-80% capacity and use flexible workspaces to fill in the holes on the rare occasion they are 100%. This reduces square footage requirements and furniture costs while recognizing that with today’s mobile workers, offices are rarely full.
There is also a blurring of the line between work and home life. People want to work when it’s convenient for their schedule and the space needs to accommodate that need. Technology, too, has made this possible, allowing employees to work from most anywhere thanks to cloud-based solutions and accessible video chat and other conferencing tools.
The designed solution shouldn’t be predicated on a defined style, either. Styles or trends come and go—just like fashion. Most of our clients don’t have the operating budgets to remodel every time a trend changes. For us, it is more important we design a space that reflects the attitude of the company and is authentic to their brand—those attributes are more stable than trends. Most business owners desire a space that allows employees to produce great work while enjoying the environment as they produce that work. They are desirous of diversity and personal choice in their workspace. Materials and colors are chosen to enhance the working environment, uphold our commitment to sustainability and leverage the company’s brand equity.
We’ve had the opportunity over the last few years to explore this diversity of space, and to bring new workspaces to life for our clients.