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What will the office of the future look like?

Article December 19, 2017  |  Text by Lukáš Rozmajzl Text by Lukáš Rozmajzl

What will offices look like in 2027? We asked seven people including designer, manager, social psychologist or futurist. Take a deep breath and take a look into the future!

JACOB MORGAN

Best-selling author (The Future of Work), keynote speaker and futurist

Ten years from now (2027), most offices won’t be THAT different than they are today. They will just be upgraded. I’d expect organizations to think of their spaces as employee experience centers, as symbols that represent what the organization stands for. This will mean different things to different companies. But broadly speaking I’d expect: leveraging multiple floor plans instead of just open vs closed, greater integration of technology ranging from sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) to advanced video conferencing and by that point virtual and augmented reality solutions. Overall spaces will be beautiful, modern, functional, and engaging!

RADEK MAŠINDA

Chief designer U1

The office of the future will be even more diversified, depending on the specialization of individual companies and the type and method of work performed by their employees. I expect more progressive office interiors to be transformed from an office space to a social space – a place where employees will meet and share information, a very informal place set up for direct and remote communication using virtual reality technologies. There will also be a specific and fully shared space for team and individual work – the personal workspace will become fully mobile thanks to information technologies. However, I assume that some office interiors will look very much like the ones today; they will only have new information technologies and furniture adapted to these technologies – the type of work and cooperation will not require a major change in the work environment.

GABRIELA DRASTICHOVÁ

Project manager at Node5

I have just finished reading the book called Deep Work written by Cal Newport. Therefore, I cannot help but imagine that offices will be designed based on the Greek concept of eudaimonia, which is a state where the human mind achieves, with maximum concentration, the full human potential. Imagine a one-storied building with five interconnected rooms. The building starts with an exhibition hall, which shows the products of deep work and inspires the visitors, and continues to a café that is conducive to joint discussions, networking and contemplation. The third room is a library that stores information and data, which is our concept of a cloud. The fourth room is an office as we know it today, where we work shallowly yet effectively. The last room is designated for deep work that provides for maximum concentration and work that tests the limits of human possibilities. I wish we could spend much less time in the offices of the future than we do today since their concept will allow us to work with maximum effectiveness and with maximum concentration on deep work. Full office digitalization, which will handle a lot of the shallow work that nowadays takes up a shameful amount of our time, will become a matter of course. I am looking forward to it.

PETR NOVAGUE

Head of the design studio Novague

Offices are already undergoing major changes, becoming more and more unified and losing the pleasant atmosphere created by good architecture. This is being replaced with different “play spaces,” relaxation zones and a lot of flowers. There are only a few high technologies that help employees and not just building or office management. I think that this will change. The office of the future will certainly be even more extreme, too much glass and modern open-space offices inside… I also think that there will finally be more of a focus on the quality of details based on designer logic. The designers of these projects will focus on hygiene and replace the elements that everybody touches with contactless ones. Office chairs that employees now inherit will have exchangeable parts, office desktops will become charging stations and office partition screens will be simply turned into presentation boards or TV screens. The main point is that these will be intelligent details.

ONDŘEJ NOVODVORSKÝ

Sales director OCP & MSC Microsoft in the CR and Slovakia

The office of the future should liberate employees from fixating on a single chair and should inspire them to new ideas and perspectives. When you go to the same closed office and meet the same people every day, you will hardly come up with something new. For us, the office of the future is a space where we do not sit in one place but advance together. This would be impossible without modern technologies that allow us to communicate and cooperate effectively and safely from anywhere, from any device.

TOMÁŠ VÁCHA

Social psychologist at The University Center for Energy Efficient Buildings, Czech Technical University in Prague

We can muse about the future mostly based on current trends. We can assume that it will be more common to share workstations: less people will have a fixed workstation, but will be able to use other types of space – a quiet space for concentration, a space for team work or relaxation. Office buildings will be more segmented, they will be divided into zones based on purpose and will provide a pleasant indoor environment focusing on light, acoustics, air quality and energy efficiency. People will be using more ICT tools for remote communication and cooperation – e.g. smart boards allowing two or several teams to communicate in a digital space. We can also expect more homeworking and the use of coworking offices. Digital nomadism is already on the rise, in particular in IT - employees who go abroad work in coworking offices and are in contact with their parent company via the Internet.

MAX VERTELETSKYI

Co-founder & CEO at Spaceti start-up

I believe that the hyperlocalization of the office space will be driven by the demands of sharing economies. As a tenant or occupier you will be charged rent and service fees based on how much time you spend in a specific zone, on a chair. There will be seamless entry to a building using a blockchain and biometric technologies. The space will adapt to occupants by knowing their location and preferences and the context of what they are going to achieve.