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Expert Roundups Office Predictions

What’s the Future of Office Space?

When we talk about the future of office space, everything points to two directions: virtual and flexible.

In today’s company’ culture, making employees happy and comfortable is no longer a choice. Companies know that if they don’t, they will lose their top talent to any of the companies that do.

The formula is simple:

Happy employees = retained talent, increased performance, and more creativity

While in the past having a physical office may have been a must, today, things have changed. Startups like Slack, Trello and Tsheets aim to solve the problems which office space solved in the past. But instead of paying $10,000 a month for an office space to solve these problems, these startups are able to do it for $9.99 a month.

So, where is all this headed? What’s the future of office space going to be? To find out more we spoke with industry experts.

Here’s what we learned…

Ross Sapir, Founder & CEO of Roadway Moving


“Office spaces can make a huge impact on work. A beneficial way offices may improve their spaces in the future is to keep the space feeling airy. Instead of feeling guarded by walls, choose glass walls to allow employees to feel less trapped. Incorporating larger windows, or even floor to ceiling windows, will let sunlight into the space. Sunlight is proven to promote positivity and great energy. Many offices are creating open work spaces, but there is still a need for some privacy. A few years from now we may see spacious, roomy work areas that still allow for personal privacy. Also, as corporate wellness is gaining popularity, I believe many offices will begin to have fully-equipped gyms for their employees, along with healthy food and snack options in the kitchen areas. People should truly feel great to come into the office.”

 

Crystal L. Kendrick, President of The Voice of Your Customer


“Office spaces can make a huge impact on work. A beneficial way offices may improve their spaces in the future is to keep the space feeling airy. Instead of feeling guarded by walls, choose glass walls to allow employees to feel less trapped. Incorporating larger windows, or even floor to ceiling windows, will let sunlight into the space. Sunlight is proven to promote positivity and great energy. Many offices are creating open work spaces, but there is still a need for some privacy. A few years from now we may see spacious, roomy work areas that still allow for personal privacy. Also, as corporate wellness is gaining popularity, I believe many offices will begin to have fully-equipped gyms for their employees, along with healthy food and snack options in the kitchen areas. People should truly feel great to come into the office.”

 

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation


“Offices of the future will be wireless and more or less paperless. Big, open spaces will house fluid designs. Not only will this aid communication and productivity, it’ll help reduce the office’s negative impact on the Earth.”

 

Chad Bermingham, VP at Cresa


“Traditional office space with private offices and cubicles is disappearing and being replaced by collaborative open space with adjustable desks, lounge areas, and small break-out rooms. New offices also have a large multi-purpose rooms with open kitchen and bar seating and other flexible seating arrangements, such as stadium seating and seats with adjustable tables.

Downtown, urban spaces are in demand and will continue to remain in demand, as Millennials want to be able to walk, Uber or take public transportation to work and social activities. Vacant suburban office parks are creating urban-like public centers to appeal to the new generation of workers, and offering discounted rents and amenity packages to prospective tenants.

Many shared or co-working offices have sprung up around the country and have grown exponentially in the past year, however, the ultimate success of these spaces is yet to be determined and these may have reached the saturation point already.”

 

Luka Birsa, CTO & CO-founder of Visionect


“The future of office space is simply less office. Work environments are already bridging the gap between work and personal life and are now more fluid spaces with a variety of areas catering to different needs, from relaxation areas to common rooms, game rooms, sleeping stations, fitness, etc. It’s all going to become more jazzy, more comfortable and less and less formal until office spaces become integral social spaces in the lives of individuals, families and society as a whole. So less office not less office space. Less office and lots of tech.”

 

Ansel Liu, Co-Founder of NOMAD


“In 2016, many companies realised that the Google-inspired workspace wasn’t suitable for everyone. Indeed, slides, bean bags, ball pits or pool tables won’t make your employees work any harder if they don’t fit your company culture. I think in the future workspace design efforts will be focused on the layout of the workplace rather than fun little perks like ping pong tables. A great example is Dropbox new headquarters, where workers’ habits have been studied before designing the new headquarters in San Francisco. Result: the workspace responds exactly to the employees’ needs and they can move from one space to another, depending on their tasks.”

 

Bradley Joyce, Founder & CEO of Skyrise


“Our belief at Skyrise is that the next step beyond the innovative technologies being created and implemented today is connecting all of these things in an intelligent way.

There will be a seamless experience between home, commute, building, office and the people that occupy the space.

As augmented reality becomes more prevalent and higher quality, office communication will evolve drastically. No matter where in the world (or even where in the office/building) your colleague is, you’ll always be able to have a face to face meeting.

I think it’s likely that text-based communication is significantly reduced other than AI-powered transcription of visual/verbal recordings.”

 

Jacob Morgan, Author of The Employee Experience Advantage & Co-founder of The Future of Work Community


“Many companies are creating a hybrid type of office, which really is the workspace of the future. These types of offices have open spaces for employees who need to collaborate or who thrive on interaction, but it also has private workspaces and quieter offices for introverts or people who need to focus without the distraction of an open office. Investment start-up Betterment provides a number of options for employees that they can move between throughout the workday. There are desks that can be moved for conversations and small groups in an open space, as well as a room known as “The Library,” where employees can have a quiet, comfortable environment with couches and tables. Throughout the office space are other small meeting rooms and breakfast nooks for comfortable conversations, plus individual private workspaces for employees who need to make a phone call or work on their own.”

 

Alexis Chateau, Founder & Managing Partner at Alexis Chateau PR


“In the future, the traditional office space at a central place of business may no longer exist. Large companies will still have headquarters, but as more companies offer telecommute options and hire remotely, there will be less demand for brick and mortar offices.

For the offices that remain, employers will move towards a “fun office space” trend. On the weekends, I contract with a business, who also rents office spaces at its skyscraper – one of the tallest in America. The office spaces for all the new tenants are colorful, and include areas to relax and unwind.

In the next decade or two, technology will also play an even bigger role in the office. Expect conference meetings to include holograms, while the CEO is on vacation with his family. The increased connectivity, however, will make it more difficult for workers to separate work life from home life.”

 

Tom Paladino, CEO & Founder of Paladino


“Top employers are designing their spaces with purpose, and invest in features that mattered most to their people. Consider all aspects of wellness – including emotional wellbeing. Prioritize spaces that allow collaboration, natural ventilation, and daylight to flow freely. Offer spaces so that employees can choose where they want to work within the office each day, and find the space that matches their task and fits their needs for interaction and collaboration, or solitude and peace and quiet. Warm or cool, dark or bright, active, passive, private or collaborative spaces should be found throughout the office and everyone has access to them. Consider access to public transportation, and walk-friendly buildings and communities.”

 

Andy Tracewell, Director of Marketing at Caretta Workspace


“The home office of the future will not be a totally virtual space. Your desk is not going away anytime soon, but it is evolving into a multi-functional tool, much the way that your mobile phone has evolved over the past 10 – 15 years. We have already seen this evolution begin with the growing popularity of standing desks that help you stay active, and the integration of wireless charging and cable management. This technology integration is only going to increase with embedded displays that support augmented reality, which is going to enhance productivity and collaboration.

The days of a utilitarian looking desk are also coming to an end. Style, form, organic shape, natural, renewable materials, will transform the office from an afterthought room in the corner of the house, to the art and technology center of the home.”

 

Ben Bisbee, Principal & Founder of Rhinocorn Consulting


“Simply put, the future of office space will be what an individual chooses to make of it within their own home. Three years ago, I was invited by my national nonprofit employer to move to a home or office of my choosing. Then a year ago, I started my own consultancy in the digital realm, continuing to work out of my home or anywhere of my choosing on a day to day basis. My husband also recently took a job working remotely, so we completely converted our home office to suit us both, including our cats and aesthetic interests.

The future is now. Each and every day, people and companies are moving to home-based offices and successfully proving that work doesn’t suffer without a cubicle, tech support or communal watercooler. The future of office space will looks different for every individual. Mine just happens to look like a cat sanctuary.”

 

AJ Saleem, Director of Suprex Tutors Houston


“I believe the future of office space will be efficiency. As the population starts growing, space will be more and more important and efficiency will be at the top of chain.”

 

Gary Sebach, Professional architect, Principal of OHM Advisors & Author of the book “What’s in Your Space”


“Changing workstyles and the influence of startup culture reshaped the role of the workplace from a static building to a highly interactive experience. Today’s social culture of connectivity, creativity, choice and comfort will be reflected in our office spaces of the future.

In the past, office space was a location to get work done, where the company provided the tools, set the work hours and locations. Architecture prescribed the space.

In the future, the office will function as a 3rd space (similar to Starbucks): a hub, a town square, a neighborhood. Workers will decide when, how and where to work. People will flow in and out. Employees will be connected by social networks, cloud computing. The actions of people will define office space. The percentage of an organization’s work classified as group work will continue to escalate, topping 60% in 5 years. Spaces will continue to be more open and flexible, with moveable walls, work pods, comfortable seating types and gathering places.”

 

Abtin Mehdizadegan, Associate Attorney at CGWP


“With the ubiquity of telecommuting technology, informality of modern workplaces, and change-of-guard to collaborative millennial leadership styles, I believe the 2030 office space will see far fewer cubicles or offices, and instead be replaced with open spaces and meeting environments that impart a team-oriented style of work. Many tech companies have already adopted this collaborative style, and with the success of that model, I believe more companies will adopt that paradigm in the future. Related to the relaxation of modern workplaces, casual Fridays will become the rule, rather than the exception, to office dress codes. Finally, based on management’s present acceptance of flexible schedules and work-from-home or remote work arrangements, I believe workplaces in the future, outside of production or retail service establishments, will actually see far fewer employees working in the office on a daily basis.”

 

Fraser Sutherland, Marketing Manager at Storage Vault


“For smaller businesses, the future will be defined by co-working spaces. When you look at global centers of business — London, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco — rental costs are ballooning. Affording somewhere to work is now a major barrier to entry for new, smaller businesses.

The solution to rising rental costs is co-working spaces, which allow several cash-strapped organisations to share huge office costs between them.

With co-working spaces already the norm in most larger cities around the world, expect the trend to filter down over the next 10 to 15 years and become the default choice.

For larger businesses, I think we’ll see a move towards corporate campuses. Large businesses are currently facing a serious dilemma, balancing location on one hand with a demanding workforce on the other.

Large businesses will increasingly try to build huge, vertical campuses packed with complementary, community-serving services and amenities.”

 

Benny Tan, Founder of The Austin Space


“Telecommuting is driving a workspace transformation. With more individuals working from home, the traditional office space has been replaced with coworking spaces. With the rise of telecommuting, suburban coworking is an attractive option for many individuals.”