The idea of what work means to us has dramatically changed over the last two decades. What was once a set of responsibilities and assignments tied to a physical location and for a set number of hours has now morphed into an ambiguous paradigm which encompasses much of our lives and often makes it hard to draw boundaries around. This is largely due to technology which has not only brought work home with us, but followed us everywhere else we go in our lives too- shopping, sitting on the bus, even spending quality time with the family. Our phones are always with us, often our laptops too. And with those devices our work- emails, files, and conversations- are all just a button or click away.
While our lives have drastically changed with technology and work has become a much different thing, the modern office has still not adapted to the great level of change. Sure there are advancements in technology, new computers, the latest machines, etc., but there still hasn’t been that seismic shift which should come along with the blurring of when and where work can be done. There have even been changes in office design in recent years, with open offices being a popular change. These offices move away from the traditional cubicle and division based layouts to something that is more open and allows for easier communication. But even these are not for everyone and still do not quite tap the revolution we have had.
Some of the changes that we are starting to see and that really take advantage of the new system are offices that have special areas to do certain kinds of work. These offices embrace the idea that office work is no longer location specific. One particular set of office furniture, called the Morph Series, features sets of seating which come with built-in USB ports and electrical outlets so that workers can easily charge their devices wherever they go. These designs also have pop-up privacy walls which allow what would be a more open setting to easily and personally convert to a private cubicle-like type of space for a worker who needs to be in a closed environment for whatever it is they are working on a the time. And it leaves the option of the layout up to them based on what they feel would make them most productive with any given project.
Other similar designs in principle have pod-based office furniture, treadmill desks, and other neat applications which offer workers of different types various options to choose from. Even with any particular worker, the change of pace can often lead to greater happiness in the workplace and in turn, higher productivity.
Plug-and-play office furniture and flexible room and furniture types for open use are both important cornerstones in moving towards an office environment that really taps into the modern world and allows for workers to be as productive as possible. The office really needs to be that productivity center in a life that leads people to work anywhere they go.
Image credit: Victor Zastolskiy