EVOLUTION OF OFFICES

Posted on February 27, 2015

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We are always intrigued by the way companies design their office workspaces. Believe it or not, the design of an office can tell you a lot about the culture and philosophy of the company.

Google's office has evolved a lot even though they have been around for just over 15 years. It talks about a culture of "evolution in the office space" segment, getting selected as the best company to work for in 2014. Quick paced yet serious and diverse, their office designs are driven by a culture of openness and innovation.

If we look into a traditionalist company of the 60s, the office is comprised of mostly private offices, with only the secretaries occupying the open internal space. All the major pitches, meetings and deals would happen behind closed doors. The employees would spend most of their time working alone in their own offices, trying to come up with their next brilliant idea.

As of today, more and more companies are creating spaces where employees can come together and collaborate instead of sitting alone bouncing ideas off the walls of their cubicles. The interesting part of the evolution of the office is how quickly these spaces begin to foreshadow the trends we see today in commercial real estate across the world.

An open-style conference room with large glazing is also something we see a lot more of today, promoting more transparency and organisation. Companies have realised that they get the best out of their employees when they work together, to be greater than the sum of their parts. In addition, multiple breakout spaces have been created throughout the office for spontaneous interaction and discussions, helping communication across levels.

Small and medium enterprises are constructing their offices to allow creativity and promote flexibility, resulting in qualities such as co-partners and leadership. Furthermore, access to daylight and the ability to visualise the entire workspace leads to an improvement in workers’ happiness and well-being. SME emphasis on Human Capital became an imperative way in designing.

Coincidently, 80% of global office space is occupied by SMEs and it is estimated that the small sized units have galvanised their teams into mobile work force units that can work productively from anywhere, at anytime, due to the advent of internet and technology.

The internet revolution has spurred the entrepreneur bug on, marginally contributing to the change in office trends and design appliance by office developers across the world in the last 5 years, to try and capture the rightful imagination of target groups who are on this growth trajectory.

India has an estimated 135 million internet users of which approximately 65-70 million fall in the mobile segment. This makes us the largest growing mobile workforce in a single country and the average age of these users is between 23-26 years.

All in all, the significance of some of these factors, coupled with office automation will determine the changing trends and push forth an evolution in office spaces. Big automation changers in office layouts were the telephone, typewriter, photocopier, facsimile machine, personal computers, mobile phones, the internet and smart phones.

Our workspace environments have been drastically transformed in just a short period of time. Intriguingly, the question is, where will the push for the next design evolution come from?

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