There was once a time, not so long ago, when an office building existed simply as an empty vessel – four walls in which business was conducted. Times change, however, and what businesses want, need and expect from their office spaces is very different now to what it might have been 30 years ago.
So how and why has the construction of office spaces shifted in recent years to accommodate the businesses of the present and the businesses of the future?
Flexibility – A flexible office space can be many things to many people – a blank canvas if you will. Whereas the office spaces of yore were very much identikit rooms, the sheer variety of businesses and experiences offered by the modern world necessitate spaces that are able to be any number of things. Open-plan office spaces are more popular now than ever before because they can be configured in any way without any major architectural or structural changes needed to be made.
Built to rent – Whereas offices were once built to be bought, this is no longer necessarily the case. Indeed, with buildings prices skyrocketing in recent years, it’s now more common for fledgeling businesses to choose to rent their office space while they’re growing instead of throwing all of their capital behind the property. New funding types, such as unsecured business loans, make it that much easier for younger companies to get started and it’s unlikely such companies would be able to buy their own space. So, more spaces are now built with renting in mind.
Technology – By 2025, millennials will make up around 75 per cent of the global workforce and this is a demographic that has spent the vast majority of their lives with at least one eye on a computer screen. Technology has altered the workspace in a fundamental way by making offices smarter and more connected than ever before and that’s also changed how these spaces need to be designed. Thanks to the Internet of Things, it’s now possible to use technology to control everything from the air conditioning to the lighting and this has changed how office spaces can and should be created.
Remote working – Finally, the advent of fast and reliable broadband has meant it is now possible for employees to work from home without losing out on the benefits of working from the office. Advances in cloud computing mean even small start-ups have access to the kind of computing power that once would have been reserved for major governments.
Culture – The perfect work/life balance that everyone hoped to strike in the 1990s has all but dissipated in the 21st century. Today, we know that we’ll be spending just as much time at work as we do at home and the office has had to adapt accordingly. That’s where the concept of the ‘company culture’ steps in. This is where offices are designed to provide a sense of genuine belonging. So your workplace isn’t just your workplace; it’s your home away from home.