The seismic shifts brought about by the pandemic have accelerated the integration of innovative technologies and new work methodologies, solidifying the hybrid workplace as a pivotal element in the contemporary professional landscape. Despite the increased focus on remote work, physical workplaces still play an essential role in bringing people together, fostering employee engagement, and driving organisational success. Looking ahead, the workplace of the future will be an ecosystem of experiences that create a sense of wellbeing, and community, and are enablers for innovation for employees. It’s time to look beyond the conventional and limited view of the workplace towards it being a catalyst for people to thrive and businesses to succeed. Some emerging trends in workplace design, technology, and human behaviour will shape the future of work.
Technology as an enabler
The pandemic has accelerated technological advancement in workspace design. Technology isn't just used for virtual meetings anymore, but also to understand space utilisation and optimize it as per employee needs. It integrates seamlessly with design to facilitate more equitable experiences for people working both on and off-premises - for both synchronous and asynchronous work.
The most significant role of technology in the workplace in the future will be around creating a positive experience for employees through personalisation. For instance, a room that remembers your lighting and temperature preferences or how warm you like your coffee. Another exciting development will be the continued use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. The immersive virtual environments created by AR and VR technology will enable employees to collaborate and innovate in new ways. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will be further integrated into the workplace, resulting in increased productivity of the employees.
The influence of design on human behaviour
So far, workplace design has focused on the effective utilisation of space and efficiency. However, in the last few years, there has been a transition toward acknowledging the impact that workplace design can have on human behaviour and decision-making skills. Organisations that understand the value of design thinking, which places people at the core, bring in empathetic experiences and will be more resilient in volatile times and more successful. Such experiences will be the focus in 2023. Designing will be done based on an understanding of how employees work, their activities, how they interact with spaces, and how these interactions will evolve in the years ahead. Designing micro-environments within the workplace that address the various needs of employees will enable the workplace to transform into an ecosystem of experiences to help people deliver their best and achieve their true potential.
Sustainability and wellness at the core
With the growing awareness of climate change and environmental issues, sustainability will become a top priority for companies in 2023. Companies will invest in designing their workplaces to be more sustainable, with features such as green roofs, solar panels, and energy-efficient lighting and heating systems. However, conscious workplace design is not limited to practices that positively impact the planet but are also about creating a wholesome environment for employees, focusing on their health, well-being, and safety where they can thrive.
As we look towards the future of work, it's clear that employee experience will be the key driver for success. Technology and design will play integral roles in creating a workplace ecosystem that fosters well-being, community, and productivity for employees. From personalised experiences to immersive virtual environments, technology will be a powerful enabler of positive employee experiences. Additionally, design thinking that puts people at the core will help organisations create empathetic experiences that drive resilience and success in volatile times. As sustainability and wellness become top priorities for companies, workplace design will evolve to create wholesome environments that prioritise employee health, well-being, and safety. It's time to look beyond conventional workplace views and embrace the workplace as a catalyst for people to thrive and businesses to succeed. The workplaces of the future will be designed to make the office "commute-worthy" for employees and enable them to view it as the most effective space to get work done.