What trends do you see influencing workplace design in the next couple of years and why?
By: John Rafferty, COO I Capital Office
As the sales leader for Capital Office, I have the luxury of engaging with a large capacity of organizations in Alaska that represent all sorts of different vertical markets. From Healthcare, to State & Federal Government, Professional Services, to Education; whether big or small – more companies want to give their employees choice and control in how they work. Historically, you had your desk, you sat at your desk, you did your work for eight hours and then you went home. Today, people are much more flexible. They work from several areas within their office, from home, from the airport, or their favorite local coffee shop. We’re always on the go and online. It’s about taking that need for mobility and connectivity, translating it into new ways to work, and giving people new tools to support the nomadic workforce.
More than ever, we’re bringing the originality of our homes into the office. We’re well into the Res-mercial era of our industry and marketplace, and I don’t see that slowing down in the next couple years. Most companies are paying a lot more attention to the ancillary spaces or the we/teamwork collaborative spaces. Typically, you find more natural and authentic materials in homes. You might have some vintage pieces or an eclectic assortment of objects in your home, whereas offices tend to have the same look repeated over and over. The modern, forward-thinking workplace will bring that eclecticism — as well as the warmth of the materials into the office to overcome the institutional appearance we have seen for decades. I’m seeing more natural woods with real wood grain and plush textiles; or the use of metals that are on the raw side, so you see through the finish into the actual steel.
While I don’t want to call it a trend, sustainability is a conversation that has been gaining momentum. Across the vertical markets, I am seeing more projects with very specific sustainability goals and directives. As more and more organizations accept the responsibility they have in purchasing products that will contribute not only to the health of their employees but also the greater ecosystem, the sustainability of products and materials is a topic that will not be diminishing anytime soon.
The real challenge we face in all this, which has been on the rise for the last several years, is how many different generations we have in the workplace. Each with different approaches and goals of how they want their workspace to perform. I think that’s where my team really shines – they recognize each of these factors and find the balance to solve all the needs of the organization we’re working with.
In closing – the office trends that I see happening over the next couple years, will consist of an ecosystem of zones with product solutions that support a healthy agile work force, that makes you feel right at home!