The Future of Office Design?

A decade ago we completed a corporate office fit-out to accommodate a workforce consisting largely of traveling consultants. Little did we know their model of working remotely would portend what many of us are now experiencing. There are some lessons we might learn from this.

As their remote working model evolved over the years, the physical office became a place to occasionally connect and work with one another. We therefore created a variety of open collaboration work areas, as has become common in most offices. However, they also needed a lot of privacy – some worked for Coke, others for Pepsi. This required building in many enclosed spaces, including single 'phone booths' and meeting rooms of various sizes. The traditional partner's offices along the outside wall doubled as larger meeting rooms.

Will working remotely most of the week become the new normal?

This model of mixing unassigned private spaces with informal gathering may be a model to consider. As we are learning in dental offices, smaller enclosed spaces can more easily provide occupants with better filtered air than large open spaces. The use of these rooms in turn helps limit the amount of contact people have with another in open spaces. A group can come together, but their time together and distance from one another can be better controlled.

With a few modifications, this office floor plan from 2010 might be ideal for the future office.