There’s no question that we have a real love for our smartphones, and for good reason. They’re easy to use and they’re intuitive. They work in sync with our motivations. They even coincide with our drives for esteem, love and self-actualization. And when you look at it that way, it’s not a stretch to imagine that our smartphones could – and most likely will – begin to shape the future of office design.
Here are 4 ways your smartphone will influence office design in 2019 and beyond.
1. Integration and “Swiping”
One of the great parts about modern technology is that it’s fully integrated. Think about everything you can access on your smartphone alone. You can shop, order food, access email, take photos, make calls, schedule meetings and even find your way around an unfamiliar area with GPS. And it provides you the flexibility to swipe between each function, all in one place.
As offices evolve, they too will become more integrated. They will begin to integrate people’s’ basic human needs and making those needs “swipeable.” This means looking at ways to incorporate “non-9-to-5” experiences into their workforce’s typical nine-to-five and making them easily accessible.
Offices of the future will likely be located and designed strategically to allow full integration with retail, dining and entertainment. And to accommodate, companies will probably shift their corporate philosophies accordingly.
2. Sharing vs. Owning
Consider how technology has shifted the priority away from ownership in many capacities. Instead, we now opt for shared content.
For example, a lot of us have foregone ownership of physical CDs in exchange for using digital music providers. Why? Because having access to every song in the world has made people less worried about owning them. Platforms like YouTube and Netflix have altered our desire to own video and film content since we can access shared content easily and efficiently.
In the future, office design will likely shift towards sharing rather than owning as well. Why have an average conference centre for your company that you use 5% of the year when you could share it with ten other companies and cut costs? With operating costs on the rise for businesses, we may see companies opting to share aspects of the workspace rather than owning them.
3. Increased Personalization
Modern technology is highly customizable. That’s one of the reasons we love it. You can pick your own apps, set your own wallpaper, pick the music you keep on it, tweak all your settings – all to make it work best for you. Companies are already taking this approach to office design and you can expect it to become even more common in the future.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to office design because everybody works differently. And that’s why employers will continue building dynamic office spaces rather than implementing traditional static designs. From private, dedicated workspaces to collaborative spaces, café-style temporary workspaces and meeting rooms, companies will continue creating offices that allow you to personalize your working experience to best fit your needs.
4. Complete Portability
Your smartphone comes with you everywhere. It makes supercomputing pocket-sized and portable. It also allows you to carry all of your necessities with you at all times. And we use it because we want to, not because we have to.
In the future, the workplace will likely look to follow suit. It won’t necessarily be defined by spatial properties. Humans are social beings who draw motivation from being around others, but we also crave freedom. That’s why the future workspace will become portable. We’ll be able to take the office everywhere we go.
The ability to work from anywhere at any time will mean that we go to our physical office because we want or need to, not because we have to. This will in turn affect how physical offices are designed. For example, it will reduce a company’s required square footage since each employee won’t need a designated workspace. It will also reduce the cost-per-square-foot that companies spend on typical office equipment like computers, desks and chairs.
The future of office design will be built on a combination of technological, physical and cultural aspects. That’s because the right blend of those factors is vital in bringing out the best in people. The reason we feel so connected to our smartphones is that they were designed to be in sync with us. And in the future, successful offices will be designed with that same goal.
The result will be people loving the place they work as much as they love their smartphones.