Charles Toogood considers what office spaces will look like in the future.
2030 seems a long way off, especially considering today’s exponential rate of technological change. So how will the office evolve?
The blend of personal and work life will continue unabated as technology enables continuous connectivity through cyberspace. Flexible and remote working will have become the norm and the office will have evolved to provide onsite amenities from green spaces for fitness breaks, open areas for relationship development to isolated sections for tasks and quiet work.
With potential for many desk-based jobs to be replaced by algorithms, companies will be leaner, with less staff and a reduced need for space. As such, the current trend for large floorplate buildings may decline, with a return to smaller, more sustainable buildings.
Whilst the current trend towards high density working and collaboration space will prevail, office specification will adapt and simplify, responding to the replacement of PCs with wearable devices, touch screens and virtual technology. Keyboards and fixed work stations will be replaced with home from home furnishings and built in technology and robots will buzz around performing cleaning tasks and delivering Amazon parcels!
Raised floors will no longer be necessary as staff will be permanently wirelessly connected. Air-conditioning will become unfashionable and replaced with mixed mode or natural ventilation as staff become accepting of the need to work in warmer, more environmentally friendly offices.
With the rise of autonomous cars, congestion charging and anti-diesel legislation, workplace car parking will be assigned to history with employees favouring renting electric cars for specific journeys, as ownership falls. And with automation enabling the ability to work on the move, perhaps there won’t be the need for the office at all...