Sentient workplaces

As the industry becomes more customer centric, the offices of the future need to better anticipate the future of those that work in them. A recent study by Futurelabs and Nespresso, which interviewed a number of industry experts, tracks a series of work trends and makes predictions for a ‘radical transformation of expectations’ for the office by 2030. The four highlighted social drivers are: (1) the rise of ‘Location Independent Digitals’ (people who work untethered to a fixed location), (2) ‘optimised self’ (the use of tools to optimise personal performance and wellbeing), (3) post growth society (a world that looks for more than financial returns), (4) a focus filter (achieving productivity in a world of unlimited information). Arising from this is a series of proposed new office concepts, that range from ‘lo-co’ (localised high street drop-ins), ‘the work mall’ (repurposed community hubs), ‘work dorms’ (project specific live-work venues), ‘worktels’ (hospitality inspired flexible hubs) and flagship offices (tech enabled spaces for collaboration). The uniting theme coming from the study is the increasingly complex and multi-faceted nature of work, the evolution of which we can already touch; and hence the pluralised nature of where we will work looking forward. For many years, office investment has benefitted from the safety net of homogeneity, with competition taking place at the margins of specification. However, with a greater emphasis forming around the fundamental nature of what is an office, the opportunities for competition (and also getting it wrong) increase.