Tuesday 20th December 2016

Over the past year, workspaces have evolved to keep up with the fast-paced working environment of today. And with multiple disruptive factors at play, organizations will have to rethink how they manage, design and utilise office space as we head into next year. To help in this endeavor, we’ve identified 6 trends that will shape the modern workspaces of 2017.

1. Accommodating younger generations

Millennials presence in the workplace is increasing, with a third of them now in management roles. In a previous blog post, we discussed the need to engage them through flexible workspaces to improve the low job retention rates. In 2017, we expect to see many organizations redesigning their workspace to accommodate Millennials, who tend to prefer a more collaborative and creative working environment.

2017 will also be the first year that Generation Z makes their way into the workforce. How organizations will change their workplace to accommodate them is largely unknown, as we don’t really know their workplace preferences yet. As the next generation on from Millennials, we can assume that they will take a similar, more evolved stance on how they want their workspace to take shape i.e. even more flexible and creative.

2. Focus on employee well-being

In an attempt to lower absenteeism and to attract new talent, organizations are expected to continue focusing on employee well-being in 2017. As the workplace has evolved, on-site health practitioners from doctors to massage therapists have been introduced to bolster the positivity of the workforce. With this focus on employee well-being, an increasing number of wellness programs are expected to be introduced in 2017.

3. Casual office attire

50% of managers say their employees wear less formal clothing than they did five years ago, and there is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue into 2017. This is preached by forward-thinking CEOs, such as Richard Branson, who created Virgin’s ‘Drop the Dress Code’ mantra. He believes, like many other business leaders, that formal business attire can restrict employee’s creativity and bottleneck employee behavior, rather than celebrating employee diversity.

Whilst formal dress may be still be required in traditional companies, modern companies, particularly those with a reliance on creative thinking, are likely to promote casual office attire throughout 2017.

4. Decline of personal workspaces

Having a personal desk for every employee can lead to poor office utilization, mainly due to the increase in remote workers who don’t need a desk every day. To achieve operational and cost efficiencies, managers are moving away from personal office space and leaning more towards desk sharing schemes. With no fixed desks to pin down employees to a particular corner of the office, hot desking gives employees the freedom to move around the workspace, promoting a collaborative working environment.

5. Adaptable office furniture

Flexible working or activity-based working has been a common theme for 2017, but without the right office space, promoting flexible options is easier said than done. Adaptable furniture, such as modular sofas and standing desks, enables flexible working to take place. If a team project starts, employees can go away from their desks and take the furniture with them.

So long as the rise in flexible working continues, which we predict it will, the accompanying adaptable office furniture is likely to grow with it.

6. Workplace technology

Clever, more compact workplace technologies will enable organizations to run their workplace more efficiently. Data captured from this technology, such as occupancy sensors, will empower organizations to understand how their workplace is being used to maximize office utilization, saving them time and real-estate costs.

With more organizations expected to embrace workplace technology next year, as well as the other trends listed above, 2017 could see the rise of more dynamic, flexible, and agile organisations.

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