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How flexible work styles impact office design

Gone are the days of using traditional cubicles in the workplace – they’re boring, outdated, and don’t respond to the new way we work.

If companies want to bag the brightest hires, they’ll need to have a collaborative office space that can accommodate flexible work styles.

What’s tech got to do with it?

As the workforce has become increasingly mobile, time spent working at a desk has been greatly reduced.

Working on the move has become the norm now, thanks to smart phones, tablets, lighter laptops, and 24/7 connectivity.

As a result, more companies are transforming their offices into more efficient workspaces that feature flowing, open floor plans that allow employees to move around and collaborate with ease.

Some companies, on the other hand, have adopted new work arrangements such as desk sharing, flexible work hours, and telecommuting.

The new trend in office spaces

With the change in how people today work, office experts are ushering in a new era in office design.

Floor layouts and furniture design are being re-imagined to support a variety of work styles.

These changes adapt to an individual’s working style but also influence attitudes and cooperation among employees.

In a survey conducted by trusted firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) on 544 real estate firms, almost 70 % percent of respondents have seen an increased demand on workplace design that foster employee collaboration.

The best example of this is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who does not have an office but sits beside his employees with whom he shares a long desk.

Happier workers

“People are actually happier to work this way, they like the freedom,” says Elie Finegold, senior vice president of global innovation and business intelligence at CBRE Group.

“It’s like the years before offices, like farmers who worked at their own pace and quit when it was done, not at a time-clock, and it lets them be with their families more,” she added in an interview with National Real Estate Investor.

“Plus, every communication is more traceable, so you know the work is getting done.”

The effect of millennials

The emergence of millennials, or those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, has also had a profound effect on office design.

According to Bernice Boucher, head of workplace strategy in the Americas for JLL, millennials demand work flexibility, and company managers are remodeling office environments to allow freedom of movement and access to the latest technology.

Bouchard also states that some companies like to think they’re competing against Google, a company that’s the holy grail of tech-immersed new talent. Managers hope that by adopting new workplace designs, they’ll also gain a reputation as a company job seekers should check out.