How we work is changing. The daring new Workplace 2040 Report from CBRE says, “Twenty-five years from now, work will be seen as something people do rather than a place they commute to. Work patterns will be radically different, with no fixed place or timetable.” This will have a significant impact on the technology, environments, and even workplace policies needed to support the future of work. We explored emerging office and work changes and innovations to predict the top office trends you’ll see in the next ten years.
Technology is evolving faster than ever. At one point in time, technology “changed over” with each new generation. Today’s technology is outmoded and replaced much more quickly. This is causing the pace of change to speed up drastically, and many workplace designers are still trying to decipher how to accommodate these rapid changes in the built environment. The first of Generation Z will be entering the workforce this May and has never known a world without technology. They’re tech-savvy, and they’re in line to increase the pace of change even more as they infiltrate the workplace.
Technological advances are now untethering us from one fixed work location. This shifts the dynamic from technology driving where we work, to work driving the technology we use. This is having a profound effect on the built environment and how effective workplaces are designed. Simultaneously, a shift in awareness around health and wellness is driving workplace designs that encourage movement within traditional office environments and beyond. This is driving the definition of the workplace to change from one location to multiple locations, including offices, homes, and many places in between. Companies will need to shift their resources into creating physical workspaces that draw workers like flies to honey. Since the office of the future will likely be a place they don’t have to go to, the workplace will need to be a place where workers want to go.
Employers can’t take full advantage of the value of well-designed work environments without human resource policies that allow and encourage changes in behavior. These policies are beginning to look not only at the financial health of the organization, but also at the physical health of the workers. By focusing on the latter, employers can create cultures that help workers thrive. As baby boomers retire, it’s predicted that there will be a lack of skilled workers available to fill open positions. Workplace culture will become a critical component for not only recruiting, but also retaining and sustaining happy and productive employees. Culture will be just as important, if not more so, to the physical environment and technology needed for the future knowledge worker.
To fully explore the future of work, we spoke with futurists, and technology and workplace experts, including:
- Lewis Beck, director of workplace consulting at CBRE and subject matter expert for the Smart Workplace 2040 Report.
- Rex Miller, futurist and author of Change Your Space, Change Your Culture.
- Kate Lister, president at Global Workplace Analytics.
- Martin Brooker, chief operating officer at Condeco Software Inc., a leading provider of workplace technology solutions.
- Michael Bahr, research program manager at Haworth and principal author of “Enabling the Organic Workspace: Emerging Technologies that Focus on People, Not Just Space.”
- Cheryl Durst, CEO of the International Interior Design Association.
To see the full list of upcoming workplace trends, download the eBook, “Welcome the machines: 10 ways tech and humans will shape the future of work.”