While technology is changing our lifestyles, it’s also impacting the way we look at the design. You can see that shift when you compare a 2005 personal computer to the 2018 counterparts which look like they have been pulled out from a science fiction novel. The age of minimalistic functional designs has taken the world by storm over the past decade and we are noticing the same shift in architecture as well. Homes are no longer designed as blocks of rooms put together but rather single units designed with the slightest of partitions to keep them from bleeding into each other. Back in the day, a dining room and living room rarely ever met each other except for in the corridors that may have connected the two. Today, they practically enjoy the company of each other in unrestricted open space. These kinds of changes can be attributed to the way in which the technology has connected the world eliminating walls which probably stood for centuries dividing one province from another. Is this a good thing? Well, it’s hard to say for sure. New age designs express a sense of freedom and transparency but may not apply to all situations. I don’t think the architects at the white house decided to follow this trend but not all of us live in spaces that require tight closed-door conversations, so a little bit of openness might be something to consider.
When it comes to office space, most of us remember ambitions of moving up the ranks and getting into that corner office which was coveted by each and every aspiring assistant manager but those days are a thing of the past. Today, most senior managers seem to share a common desk with their teams in collaborative offices spaces and probably have a common set of stationery too. While that may seem to take away from the glamour attached with corner offices, modern age companies have a new dynamics to deal with. Departments no longer work in isolation or as decentralized units with their own quarterly agendas; they need to interact with one another constantly. Also, since so many companies have gone global with diversified units operating around the world, the need for open communication channels has grown.
Not to mention, a large number of modern companies employ millennials, fresh out of university and they are used to living in a world of freedom to think, act and do. Something the pre-millennial counterparts aren’t too familiar with. I mean when was the last time you gave your piece of mind to your boss in a meeting and expected anything less than being pulled from the project, being moved to a different department or worse being shown the door. I’m not saying that you’d want to do that even today but there is a clear psychological shift and good managers are asking their teams to give their opinions on projects. And with a shift like that, you can’t operate in matrices of cubicles. Like a colleague of mine mentioned recently, she enjoys sharing her sales table with the marketing team which helps gather more insights on how she could approach her clients. And when she needs some quiet time, she simply jumps into one of the countless pods, which are like 4-seater dinner rooms, for some quiet time or short discussions with colleagues.
Modern offices are exploring the dynamics of open collaborative spaces and seeing the impact on their processes as well as employee satisfaction levels. As is the human resource norm today, happy employees mean happier customers and simple design improvements in your office can lend a hand to this cause. It’s time larger organization take a cue from smaller start-ups and build more inclusive and collaborative spaces that promote transparency as well as motivate employees to enjoy their work-life.