Innovative office space in the near future.

Innovative office space in the near future.

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Fri. 29.11.19
Dear colleagues and readers, I took the liberty of speculating on what a modern innovative office and office furniture will be like in the future for the next 5-10 years. And offer your vision of this issue for discussion by readers.

So over the past 15-10 years, global paradigms of staff work in the office environment have occurred and continue to occur. The cabinet system, which came to us from the 90s of the last century, has been replaced by an open space system since 2005, it has become increasingly widespread in design decisions of large furniture customers.

Huge spaces of “skyscraper candles” were furnished in principle with almost the same office furniture on metal supports and with small zoning elements.

Open office spaces began to resemble an anthill or a beehive both in terms of employee traffic and the level of noise created in large quantities by all participants in the workflow throughout the day.

After 5-7 years of active use of open workspaces, it became clear that they have a number of serous drawbacks, which manufacturers with varying degrees of success tried to solve locally.


Using zoning elements in the form of partitions and acoustic panels. But apart from purely physiological factors, psychological and cultural factors also appeared in this process, respectively, such tasks could no longer be solved by simply zoning the rooms.

Here all market participants and creators of office spaces in 2015-2016 approached such a border line.

The conditions have ripened and conditions have formed for a qualitative transition to the intermediate stage of office spaces — these are hybrid or multi-zone spaces that combine more than 6-9 different functional zones that allow employees to work comfortably and productively on new and, one might even say, innovative business tasks throughout the entire work of the day.

The whole process of changes and transformations was associated with a number of mutually dependent factors occurring in the World and the global economy in the observed period of time.


  • Global companies open their offices and product development centers in different countries and continents.
  • Digitalization of everyday life and erasing the boundaries of systems between the working time cycle and the cycle of personal life.
  • The intersection and integration of cultures, societies in connection with the active legal labor migration.
  • A multiple increase in the information and communication burden on company employees.
  • The desire of company employees to maintain health in the workplace and lead a healthy lifestyle while in the office environment.
  • The transition of about 15% of working office workers to work remotely at home or use a floating schedule.
  • Improving signal quality and high-speed Internet coverage . 

The graph below shows how, under the influence of global changes in the world, technology and the business environment, the workspace has changed. It becomes more clear dependence of changes on certain factors.

Today, monofunctional office spaces and office furniture are actively being replaced by adaptive spaces and cross-functional workstations.

Such workplaces allow not only performing one function of working on a task in one position, but the function of presentation and communication with colleagues, personal functional improvement by changing positions during the work process and taking a short rest in an ergonomic office chair.

Various appointments and tasks are received and meeting tables at them will not only host employee meetings and negotiations with clients, but tables will also appear for active teamwork and communication with remote employees and clients. Where is the main component of this work, an interactive exchange of views and experience in working together on the project of a small compact team of 3-6 people.

Waiting zones are being actively transformed into zones of informal communication between employees and customers. Something like a lobby bar in a hotel code is all on equal footing and very comfortable in such a space. You can read a corporate magazine or newspaper to ask the meeting manager about company news to clarify what’s going on with the current order, to conduct both formal and non-formal communication, and communication.

The eating area is also undergoing changes. It is no longer enough to have an office kitchen and a eating room.

It is important to create the atmosphere of a club cafe where people, too, can relax a little to think or even sit and work on a laptop with their favorite coffee and croissant to their favorite music. In the evening, those who stayed at work will be able to sit together 2-3 pizzas. Office kitchen becomes more interior and public, and tables and chairs, these are stylish solutions in a trendy cafe or restaurant.

Freely configurable spaces appear, either a zone of education and presentations or a zone of innovations, an incubator of ideas and prototypes.    

In the near future, due to the abolition of many routine processes and office tasks, a significant number of lower and middle level specialists will be released.

But at the same time there will be a shortage of highly skilled technical and creative specialists, as well as team managers.

It is for such specialists that future office spaces and furniture will be created.

The following technologies will come to our offices in terms of 5 to 10 years in the future:

  • The massive introduction of 3-D printing and VR augmented reality will require the creation of certain spaces to work with such technologies.
  • Digitalization of work processes, namely the emergence of commercial versions of AI (artificial intelligence) in analytics and sales, as well as the management of production and supply chain, design of buildings, equipment and electronics.
  • Increasing the market share of traditional E-comers sellers, as well as the emergence of a new format “3-D online E-comers” and the creation of chains of round-the-clock offline stores “without sellers”
  • Prompt delivery of goods in cities by drones, both by land and by air.
  • Hybridization of equipment and technologies of cross functionalism.

Conclusions.

In the future, 1-10 years

Many types of office furniture will begin to transform under the influence of a changing environment, transitional models and modifications will appear. We need to get ready to quickly introduce the product into the market and remove the “cream” and quickly withdraw it when the trend has changed or the niche is full.

Office series will become smaller in assortment within each line, but the range of products for the office and possible additional options and modifications will become wider. Fundamentally new products will begin to appear in office furniture for staff and teamwork.

Document storage systems reduce their presence in the office, but do not disappear completely. Nondescript folders for folders turn into decorative accent elements for beautiful printed albums, prestigious awards and collections.

Locker cabinets appear for storing personal belongings of employees who work on a flexible schedule, according to shift or project mode.

Upholstered furniture from a boring office is more shifted towards a comfortable home while maintaining a business style. Complex and expensive finishes of both metal and textile elements are actively used.

Biophilia (natural sunlight, natural surrounding landscaping, small inland ponds, natural materials and color schemes) in design design will become the norm in most modern office spaces.

Separately, it should be noted the widespread use of a new type of furniture as working “partition capsules” with an integrated work table, vertical walls finished with textile elements and soundproofing.

Traditional meeting rooms are changing are a thing of the past, desk systems without audio and visual communication the era of paper meetings and presentations of printed schedules is over.

The meeting rooms were also divided into formats small for 3-6 people, trapezoidal, rectangular, hexagonal or round, medium for 10-18 people, mostly rectangular and large for 24-50 people. Accordingly, the first two formats are already presented as turnkey solutions with support for high-speed Internet, video and audio components, and the third largest format is always an individual solution for the client.

Executive office furniture will undergo minimal changes as this segment is the most conservative both in the technologies used for senior management and in general mentality of users. The traditional materials will remain: wood, panels and elements made of natural veneer, aluminum, stainless steel, glass, genuine leather, natural fabrics, stone.

Working furniture for staff will change even faster, but still retain as part of the anachronism the traditional work desk and office chair. The trends of the near future are simple forms with rounded edges, a naturalistic look and pleasant tactile sensations. Built-in workplaces and configurable local LED lights. Pencil case. Personalized height features. Possibilities of local landscaping of a personal workplace.

In the segment “home office” and “small business” the changes will be extremely insignificant both in forms and in materials.

Office partitions will also undergo changes, these will be systems with changing transparency and greater sound insulation, but one of the main tasks will be the ability to change space and be flexibly configured (mobile walls).

The main task of specialists in office interiors will be successful combinatorics of various series and elements, mutual complementation and visual synergy of design solutions. Orientation and application of solutions of modern technological trends of “digitalization” of office spaces can be a key advantage.

In the future 10+ years

Global changes will significantly change both the profiles of professions and the working environment in which production functions and processes will be carried out.

However, many existing professions will cease to exist in principle, and a certain number of professions will be transformed under the influence of inevitable changes.

The office landscape and furniture will also undergo significant changes in the next 10 years.

Monitors / projectors and speakers integrated into the work surfaces will appear. The workplaces themselves will be flexibly adjusted to the user and its anatomy, in essence, the table and chair will be combined together with computer equipment.

Augmented reality operators will essentially work in specially equipped rooms and create their own projects there, respectively, their work will be divided into splits for 30 or 45 minutes, then rest … either in a common recreation area or in a personal one. Holographic monitors and software products will also appear.

Specialists in communication with clients and partners will work in separate “box capsules” since the communication traffic will be just very interactive and along with the sound there will be video or holograms.

Summary

Summing up, we can say that the office furniture market does not have a simple but interesting future and the topic of creating a high-tech innovative office is not solved by one or even several companies; this is the task of several mutually overlapping industries and industrial sectors.

This is the methodical work of many thousands of designers and engineers who are on the first line of creating future bold concepts and ideas that deeply understand the historical past. At the same time, they boldly apply innovations in technology and design.

The experiments that will necessarily go in this direction by both domestic and mainly Western companies will lead to the appearance of both new products in the office furniture segment and new production technologies.

We must be prepared for the rapid and inevitable global changes in this complex market. Constantly adapt to new conditions and the competitive environment and lead tirelessly the development of a New Innovative Product and successfully implement it in a very short time, as well as being able to offer its customers high-quality products worldwide.