A bland work environment only adds to the boredom of a bland work day. But workspaces of the future, writes Dan Cox, might change all that by providing vital spaces for telepresence, telepods and flexi-desking – surely enough to stimulate any tech-savvy workforce
Over the last two decades the
development of instant messaging such
as email has seen majority share of
communication shift from verbal to written.
Our switching from the telephone to the
computer has not only fuelled productivity but
facilitated our rapid move from enclosed
offices to open-plan environments.
With the benefits of face-to-face
communication still clear, our need to work in
teams has seen the development of new
spaces for tasks previously accommodated by
As commercial rents increase, so will the
need for space-efficient facilities that provide
flexible structures to support autonomous to
collaborative tasks. As a result, a multitude of
spatial types for working may be “reserved” as
a project cost. Sophisticated task planning
software may have space management
capacities as the phenomenon of flexi-desking
moves to a hotelling approach where different
spatial types are booked based on the duration
of cases. This process will help the practice
control rising office infrastructure costs.
These future spaces may include:
“Intercomm Project Rooms” (inter-
communication space) with the ability to
acoustically isolate from open working areas with interactive display and recording of information.
“Telepod” (telecommunications) booths for
individual or small groups with advanced
telepresence capacity to allow us to connect
instantly with colleagues in another location.
“Touchdown”: a basic workstation set up
for short-term work in desirable locations, for
example adjacent to a view or natural light
for workers who generally work remotely
from the office.
Advances in telepresence video-
conferencing will heavily increase as carbon
restrictions limit travel while our need to
connect to the global network grows. We
may even see the physical space start to
merge with the virtual. Will we join global
conferences in virtual spaces such as
“second life”? Will our design focus transfer
to these virtual environments?
As systems develop to monitor productivity,
we may see a continued growth in remote
working. Portability of our virtual desktop will
enable increased flexibility for our choice of
working environments. Will we be invoicing our
employer for working from home or sacrifice
salary for our Aeron chair at the city office?
RFID (Radio-frequency identification) or
“one” security that is truly your own will enable
future environment to adjust to your personal
preferences. It will also allow free movement
when accessing virtual environments.
“The Magic Room” – or staff services – will
liberate the time-poor by centralising the personal assistant role to accommodate a
wider group of team members – for example,
personal shoppers, dry cleaning services and
Dan Cox is an associate at Carr Design