In this week’s posts, we’ve attended to a series of issues around productivity and collaboration in our current work environment. We’ve discussed how introverts are being excluded from our current working places, the historical changes in office layouts, how management could be adapted to increase productivity, the roots of Generation Y’s demands for flexible working, but we haven’t yet discussed how all of this comes together to give birth to the office layout of the 2020 workplace (a place where all Xers, Yers and Zers collaborate effectively).
Generation Z is best known as Generation C (for Collaborative, Connected, Communicative and Creative) or iGeneration (“i” standing for customized to personality and mood). Generation Y plays a crucial role bridging the gap between now and tomorrow, by pushing the boundaries of today’s office design before the new generation arrives to the market.
In more concrete terms:
Collaborative: Office spaces should have open space for daily tasks, pop-up meeting rooms, informal socializing rooms and hide-out places to strike a positive balance between collaboration and thought-intensive individual work.
Connected: All rooms should have internet connection and all employees should work with laptops and deviated mobile phones to facilitate movement and cross-departmental fertilization. Some companies already propose wireless internet (with limited access to visitors) and printing on demand through a badge system (thus protecting information confidentiality) throughout their buildings.
Communicative: The rooms could be designed to limit the number of meeting participants (and save in organizational productivity) and to display an individual’s or team’s results to the rest of the company. The social dimension is essential as studies prove cohesion, engagement, retention and creativity increase when rooms inviting for informal exchanges are available to all employees.
Creative: Room design and choice of furniture should serve different meeting purposes. Table and chair arrangements impact posture and size of personal bubbles. Playing with those elements could make a significant impact whether the meeting is an informative kick-off, an action-driven follow-up session, a creative brainstorming or a “devil’s advocate sanity check”. To ensure ideas and solutions come from the right places, flat organizations should stay away from corner offices and other sorts of status symbols.
Customized: Room colours, lighting, sound proofing and precise accessories could be customized to serve meetings purposes, to generate an overall harmonic experience and to adapt to employee’s moods and particular needs (especially in hide-out places). The availability of hide-out places will also reduce stress levels and burnouts, and will be deeply appreciated by introverts
There are plenty of experts on the subjects that could help you design your office of the future. Feng Shui and chromotherapy consultants, sound experts like Julian Treasure and designers like Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft are just some of them. You can hear the suggestions of the latter in this podcast.
What layout changes can you apply right now in your office to improve the 5 C’s?