Future office could be just like home

The future workplace will be adaptable, temporary and just like home. These are among the key conclusions of the latest in a series of future-gazing reports from Arup.

Arup’s Living workforce report has been produced by its Foresight + Research + Innovation team, which monitors trends that are likely to impact on the built environment and broader society. It says that demographics, trends in education and changes in lifestyle will drive change in the future workplace.

The report says the workplace of the future could:

  • no longer be understood as a dedicated physical space. It will operate across both virtual and physical space. The report says, “People will work from the home office in the morning, have a conference in a telepresence suite at lunch, meet for a cup of coffee in the company canteen in the afternoon and collaborate on the company’s ideas platform while taking the train home”
  • be occupied on a short term lease or pay as you go basis. Smart work centres, office hubs and serviced offices will allow a more flexible approach to renting
  • incorporate more wireless components. Future features could include light switches powered by the touch of a button or wireless electricity transmission, reducing the need for cabling and fixing components. The workplace will also have better energy management and monitoring, automated climate control and more sustainable resources and materials
  • provide benefits, so that it can compete with home offices. Future workplaces will have to be places that people want to go to with, for example a great social context or great food. Home and work will be blurred, with the latter becoming more like homes away from home, complete with sleeping facilities, to make them good places to be and foster creativity
  • be open for public access, with facilities and services integrated and available for public use. Examples could be corporate-sponsored wireless-internet hot spots, co-working spaces, public libraries and company museums
  • tell people about itself. Technologies will allow structures to ‘communicate’ with their surroundings, for example, through images on a building exterior or sound installations. A building could display its energy consumption or carbon emissions
  • cater to a more diverse set of requirements, for example, a workstation could transform from an open space to a private one or a meeting room could also serve as a prayer room.

The full report is available here.

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