As we progress further into the digital age, the lines between the way we work and play are becoming more blurred. Our daily workspaces are morphing into beautifully designed areas of ergonomic excellence, where employees can enjoy a new type of flexibility – one where they are endowed with entrepreneurial levels of creativity and productivity not seen on such a scale before.
Progressive Technology in the Workplace
The reinvention of the traditional office layout can be attributed to the growing number of millennials who differ significantly from the previous generation in terms of both their requirements and expectations in the workplace. This rising generation has been and continues to be influenced by the rapidly changing technology which is available to them.
According to David Seinker, CEO of The Business Exchange– which offers co-working space in Johannesburg and Mauritius, currently only 3% of the global market is utilising coworking space. This has not yet begun to scratch the surface. Seinker says that if South Africa follows suit with WeWork being the largest occupier of office space in New York and London and Regus not far behind them, then South Africa can expect its co-working spaces to increase to around 30% by 2020 and ultimately 50%.
Both small and large companies are increasingly looking at renting flexible, fully- serviced office space, which is another primary driver in this sector. However, it is not just limited to the need for flexibility but also to the overall experience of how a day in the office should be experienced, as our working hours get longer.
Touchdown at the Office
Not everyone needs to be in the office all day. Shared office spaces are becoming more popular, where cost-effective “hotdesks” are ideal for these types of workers. They are functional spaces which allow employees to quickly check their emails, make a few calls, update their admin and get back onto the road again.
The Power of Community
The Business Exchange took notice of how their shared office spaces in Johannesburg created a natural and genuine sense of collaboration between their tenants and capitalised on this to their tenant’s advantage by offering various business networking events.
Office Design Functionality
Endless rows of desks and office cubicles are being replaced by sophisticated workplace designs with statement art pieces, natural light and optimal acoustics. Formal and informal meeting areas are carefully spaced to appeal to a variety of business needs. The main aim of these new workspace designs is to provide employees with a balance between their physical and mental health.
Wellbeing in Shared Workspaces
Aside from the activity-based meeting rooms, office space trends are also seeing more break-away spaces such as coffee-bars, on-site restaurants, gyms, showers and cafés. As employee retention becomes more difficult, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that everyday workspace is a happier and healthier place. Ultimately, this will have a positive impact on all employees and reflect back on the company’s bottom line.
Workspaces are evolving into more than just shared physical spaces – they are becoming places where ideas are being exchanged, and knowledge shared – workspaces where innovation thrives.