The Covid 19 pandemic has encouraged a work-from-home culture for most employees. But this can continue in the post-covid world too.
Some companies may adopt a better work system called flexible work, letting employees choose their work timings and location.
Workplaces that accommodate this system are the offices of the future. These offices combine the best qualities of traditional offices and remote work, like easier interaction and flexibility.
In this article, we’ll highlight the ten different offices of the future and their major advantages. We’ll also discuss their challenges and suggest some simple tips to overcome them.
This article includes:
(Click on the links below to go to a particular section)
- 10 Trending Offices of The Future
- 3 Prominent Advantages of Offices of the Future
- 4 Challenges with the Offices of the Future and their Solutions
Let’s get started.
10 trending offices of the future
Offices of the future offer sustainability, comfort and usually have a design that promotes collaboration.
Let’s look at a few types of these emerging offices:
1. Open office
An open plan office is a workspace without enclosed cabins or spaces.
All employees, irrespective of their designation and nature of work, sit and work together without any infrastructural divisions.
The primary purpose of this office model is to eradicate the power separation in seating arrangements. Here, a newly hired graphic designer could sit beside a senior copywriter for better collaboration.
Additionally, office equipment and other resources are equally accessible to all employees in the room. Employees can also check the availability of the equipment from their seats because it’s easily visible from everywhere due to an open layout.
While the managing director and other top executives may have a private office, all other employees are seated together and can be easily seen by each other. This also helps employers effectively pay attention to everyone.
Besides increasing efficiency, this workplace design allows free movement and enables you to change the floor plan quickly, increasing convenience.
2. Office neighborhood
A neighborhood is an office space where employees who work as a team sit together in an open office. Sometimes, employees who work on similar tasks can also form a neighborhood.
This system ensures that employees can easily approach colleagues they may need during work, enhancing collaboration. Employees can also quickly access amenities relevant to work.
Additionally, you can customize the neighborhoods to fit employees’ needs. For example, you can build a game room for employees who enjoy games to relax during breaks.
3. Activity-based working office
An activity-based working office is a workspace where employees choose their seating area depending on their activity.
For example, they can sit in a meeting space to discuss business strategies, a brainstorming room to generate ideas, a focus room to work without interruption, etc.
The driving idea behind this office model is the belief that employees are most productive when they’re in the right space.
4. Co-working space
A coworking space is an office where employees or freelancers from different or the same company work under the same roof.
However, unlike traditional offices, co-working spaces are owned by third-party service providers. They charge companies based on the number of employees that work from the office space.
Companies need not pay for vacant spaces, helping them save money on office rents. This reason makes co-working spaces popular among startups.
These offices have all amenities that a regular employee would need:
- Coffee maker
- Snacks counter
- Microwave oven
- Printers, etc.
Like traditional offices, a co-working space may have a conference room, a cafeteria, and other areas.
5. Hot desk
Hot desking is a workplace system in which employees occupy different seats at different times depending on which seat is vacant when they arrive.
In this smart office model, employees can sit with different colleagues every day, encouraging healthy relationships between employees. The flexibility of this work system is refreshing and encourages innovation.
The hot desks model prevents space wastage by only creating seats based on the number of employees that work from the office. You can use the extra space for any number of purposes.
You can apply the hot desking system in traditional as well as open office spaces.
6. Destination-worthy office
A destination-worthy office is a collaborative space designed to encourage employees to connect with the brand and its achievements. These offices project the brand and attract potential talent.
The office may increase employee loyalty and inspire employees to grow by providing great experiences.
For example, Reebok redesigned its Boston headquarters to include a two-story flagship gym, an extensive shoe collection, etc. They arranged their office such that employees understand the brand and its purpose better.
7. Trophy office
A trophy office space is designed to appeal to employees and motivate them to work from the office.
For building such a workplace, the company can utilize advanced technology like:
- Touchless tech: Enables people to carry out tasks without touching the device. Popular examples include automated doors and taps.
- Virtual reality: A simulation in which employees can interact with an artificial 3-D environment.
- Cloud computing: Offers on-demand access through the internet to computer system resources like applications, servers, etc.
This collaborative space is best suited for an organization with partially remote employees. The work environment of the trophy office aims to attract remote employees and motivate them to come to the office.
Companies can also use office design to encourage employees to work better and attract the best talent.
8. Virtual office
A virtual office is a modern office space where employees and owners work remotely using business software and the internet.
Business owners won’t have to spend on an office building or any amenities, which is why these are popular among startups and small businesses. Additionally, employees can work from any place they like, providing much-needed flexibility.
9. Hybrid office
Hybrid offices are workspaces that accommodate the requirements of remote and in-office working systems. These offices have some employees working from home and others from the office.
Such offices are more likely to be spacious as they have to house fewer employees than traditional offices.
This smart office helps businesses:
- Increase employee productivity by reducing distractions.
- Reduce operating costs like electricity, stationery, etc.
- Attract a larger talent pool by allowing remote work for certain positions, and more.
Read more about what a hybrid office is and how it works.
10. Satellite office
A satellite office is a branch of a company that’s physically separated from the company headquarters. For example, Apple, a tech company with headquarters in California, has 27 satellite offices across 25 countries.
This workplace model helps companies expand businesses in local and foreign markets by nearshoring or offshoring.
The location of your satellite office can determine how far employees have to commute.
To enable flexibility and comfort, you should preferably choose a location close to most of your employees.
3 prominent advantages of offices of the future
A Jones Lang LaSalle IP Inc survey reported that flexible workspaces and shared amenity spaces might account for approximately 30% of the office market by 2030.
Let’s look at some of its major advantages:
1. Low costs
Since a modern office culture may permit remote or hybrid work, it won’t require as many amenities as a traditional office.
A traditional office may need you to buy desks, laptops, and chairs for every employee.
But in modern offices, employees may share tables, bring their own laptops, etc., which are cost-effective.
Since employees may also work remotely, companies can rent corporate real estate depending on the number of employees that work from the office.
2. Better mental health
A SurveyMonkey survey found that 38% of office workers are happier with a setup that offers flexibility.
Non-traditional workspaces build a working environment that prioritizes employee experience. Here, employees can choose where to work from and when to work.
The flexibility of modern offices allows them to build a comfortable and stress-free office environment – improving their mental health.
Here’s how you can promote mental health in your workplace.
3. Increased productivity
A Statista survey published that flexible working increases employee productivity by 82%.
A modern workplace gives employees the liberty to work from anywhere, anytime, and with fewer guidelines to follow. This way, offices of the future increase employee productivity.
Moreover, they can avoid commuting during busy hours and also work in a distraction-free environment.
4 challenges with the offices of the future and their solutions
While you may feel that the offices of the future are an ideal solution for a modern workplace, it does come with its share of disadvantages. Not to mention you’ll also have to keep pandemic guidelines in mind if you’re going with a physical office space.
Let’s look at some challenges of flexible offices and learn how to tackle them:
1. Difficult for new hires
A full-time, remote worker tends to interact more with old colleagues and isolate new hires. This attitude can make it difficult for new employees to fit in, understand company culture, or enjoy office work.
To avoid this, you should conduct frequent virtual gatherings where all employees can engage in team-building activities.
You can also use virtual communication tools like Slack that offer ‘Donut,’ a plugin that randomly pairs colleagues to interact with each other.
2. Inefficient use of communication tools
Most organizations use tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. However, many employees may not know how to use them effectively.
Without proper guidelines and training regarding these communication tools, employees can get confused and not use the tool to its full potential.
That’s why it’s essential that the employer provides proper communication guidelines. You can also offer hands-on training on how to use these tools effectively.
3. Low employee engagement
Operating all business processes virtually can make it impersonal, which can negatively affect engagement over time. That’s why you should use technology that optimizes virtual collaboration.
Your team should be able to interact with each other in real-time like they would if they were in the same workplace.
You can use a high-quality camera that captures the whole room to make the virtual meeting experience seem more real.
Likewise, you can display huge screens in the meeting room so that the employees in the office can clearly see and interact with those working remotely.
Apart from this, you should ensure that remote working employees have a good internet connection and other amenities to provide a better video conferencing experience.
4. Poor performance management
Since employees in a modern office don’t necessarily work from the same location, managers can find it hard to monitor their performance.
Fortunately, you can do that and more with Time Doctor, an employee productivity management tool used by major companies like Ericsson and small companies like Thrive Market.
The tool generates in-depth productivity reports that give you insights into your employees’ performance. It also lets you track the time employees spend working and records the tasks they work on.
With Time Doctor, you can also:
- Manage employee distractions using Idle Time Pop-up.
- Schedule shifts for employees.
- Take screenshots (optional) of employees’ monitors to see what they’re working on.
- Use powerful integrations with Time Doctor’s Chrome extension.
Time Doctor also offers an efficient mobile application for android phones, using which you can track the productivity of employees who’re on the go.
Flexible offices can be the ‘new normal’ in the post-pandemic world due to their employee-friendly nature.
But choosing the suitable office model for your business can be confusing because of the abundance of options. You’ll also have to keep COVID guidelines in mind to ensure employee safety.
Go through the office models we covered here to determine what meets your business requirements and step into the future of working.
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.