The Evolution of the Office

The way in which we perceive the office has become something of a blur. What does the office really mean? The way we now work has changed dramatically over the last decade, that the term “office” is now become more of a state of mind rather than a physical location. You no longer need to be locked down to a desk in a high rise building to be able to work. People are now creating their own personal “office” from the likes of a cafe, home or even on public transport. Working has become far more of a lifestyle rather than having home life and work life as two sep-arate things, people now see them both as one. Far more people are now socialising more at work with it being events or meeting after work, it’s become far more of a social way of living.

Atal Bansal from the Sheila Bird Group described how people are want-ing more from their work space. It is no longer a space just about work, it now must incorporate lifestyle, social media, breakout spaces, spaces to relax and get away from work for a while. It is a case of giving the people that work in the space a voice, allowing them in initiate what they want. The Shelia Bird Group’s design for Misguided did just this. They listened to the wants and need of the people working within the space, whilst still taking into account what the company’s branding was and what they wanted to represent from their workspace. Being a clothing brand that’s reputation is image based it was important to take that into account when designing the space. Not only did they understand that for clothes to sell social media must play a big role, this gave them the inspiration to create the working space as a place that has “instagramable” locations through-out the building. There is no need to go out to find the backdrop for your picture if you already create that within the place you work.

The main point that this lectured offered was how the workspace is evolv-ing and that we must evolve with it as designers, meaning that the work-space now has to fit in with the culture we are living in. We have become far more social in the way that we work; from Co-working spaces to hot-desking and the rise in Activity Based Working (ABW.) We must take this into account when we design spaces, that they need to be a space that not only the workers feel comfortable in but also a place that repre-sents the companies way of thinking and progression within the current market. Simple things such as placing a working table within the centre of the room so that nobody is pushed up next to a window and forcing everybody to walk past each other to be able to leave, which encourages social interaction. Not only this, it gives everybody the opportunity to be able to go to the window for a break. This could again be seen as a way of getting people to move around a space and socialise with people they may not normally see or be sat next too.

As designers it is important to be able to understand the needs and
ever changing wants of the people within a space and be able to design something that gets the best out of everybody, from the employees to the employer.

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