Digital technology is behind a rapid shift to more flexible and collaborative workplaces and workforce. The drivers of this change are the increased proportion of the tech savvy millennial generation now working, improvements in the UK communication infrastructure giving faster connectivity and improved digital, and virtual means of long distant interaction and collaboration.
Human interaction remains fundamental to business activities and continues to dominate the agenda of creative thinking about the workplace. How occupiers and developers react to these rapid changes will depend on geography and sector, but common themes are emerging.
Space use will no longer be based on hierarchy but reflect the working needs of employees. Private offices will disappear for all but the most sensitive of sectors. Mobile technology is already revolutionising the one desk per person policy. This, coupled with a more flexible approach to home working and freedom of movement around the office will result in lower occupational density requirements.
Increased collaboration, sensory and flexible meeting areas will encourage more social engagement and a greater diversity of work settings. Developers will need to provide high speed internet connections, with Wi-Fi and 4G networks to support this intensely fluid and unstructured workplace. Variable floor plates and central meeting areas will be required to promote networking and the exchange of ideas between a diverse tenant mix in an incubator style environment.
Wearable technology, holographic video conferences will all play a part in shrinking the distances between office, home and flexible working environments [Read our related article]. Occupiers will be able to reduce the amount of space needed for fixed desks and move from a dominant central hub to a dispersed presence in smaller flexible spaces in regional locations. Developers will need to provide these small spaces and equip them with the latest and fastest communication platforms.
The future will be technology based, mobile and flexible. Developers and occupiers need to embrace these inevitable changes to stay ahead of the curve.
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