We’re on the brink of disruption as great as last year’s sudden shift to remote work: the move to hybrid work — a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home
The new workplace is an open environment and that’s largely made possible by technology. Technology is driving mobility.
The tech-enabled mobile worker is free to migrate within the office, or even work from home when appropriate.
With technology changing where and how we work, it follows that workplace designs must attune to an increasingly mobile workforce.
This is somewhat disruptive; it’s different from the office we’re accustomed to with its assigned seating and private offices for those at a certain level within the hierarchy.
In today’s workplace structure, that system has collapsed. From lactating rooms to outdoor spaces today we look at other new spaces that will be or are already being included in the workplace
Gone are the days that you will only need a single couch in the reception area. The workplaces are now shifting into having bigger rooms, where clients can sit in for a couple of minutes as they catch up on their emails even as they wait up for their meetings. In the old school set-up, visitors are greeted by a receptionist and asked to sit in a chair until someone comes to retrieve them.
In today’s work environment or even in the future workplace clients will be looking for big spaces that are less formal and multi-use. This space gives their customers or guests an opportunity to come in, have a cup of coffee or check emails until the meeting begins. Proximity is very important in locating these big rooms. The living room/café spaces are often placed at a crossroads, either right by the point of entry like the elevator banks or in a central location that encourages fortuitous interactions.
While many organizations look to encourage collaboration, employees often need quiet time for concentration, focus on work or even simply pick business calls.
More businesses will soon be looking for office spaces that also feature skype Booths/ pods to fulfill this role. The skype booths are single-person rooms with a door that can be closed. At approximately 30SF to 50SF, they’re generally used for reading, writing, private or confidential calls, and activities that require quiet and concentration. These spaces need to be in close proximity to personal workspaces, to ensure utilization. Generally speaking, skype booths can’t be reserved, they’re first-come, first-served.
A huddle room is a small and private meeting area, typically seating 3-6 people and equipped with teleconferencing and collaboration technologies. Depending on its size and needs, an organization may have several huddle rooms in addition to a large, conventional conference room.
Huddle rooms are technology-enriched spaces. At approximately 150SF or so, they are fully ‘teched-out to enable digital collaboration among offices, with dual screens for video conferencing and content sharing. In some cases, whiteboards are specified for analog collaboration.
Unlike conference rooms or meeting rooms huddle rooms benefit from video and audio, but the options look quite a bit different than those for larger meeting spaces. Where boardrooms need multiple components to facilitate video and audio, many vendors offer a kind of all-in-one system for huddle rooms.
Most huddle rooms also operate with a bring-your-own-device model, where a laptop or other personal device can connect to the video conferencing system and act as the management interface for the room.
Conference rooms are still relevant and very much required for formal meetings. Many clients will consider designing rooms that are agile and flexible, with dividable partitions to change the size of the spaces to accommodate various activities and numbers of people.
Furniture in the conference room should be flexible and stackable to adjust to various room configurations. Adequate storage space must be factored in for each possible setting. In spaces like Nairobi Garage // Westlands, we have dedicated video conferencing rooms that are bookable for small teams, with big screens and all the tech. The VC rooms help ensure that you run your virtual meetings all day with no interruption at all.
These easily-accessible spaces are usually located in proximity to departmental or group personal spaces. The casual meeting spaces could range from cafe areas within the space or even a number of lounges.In general, they are part of the unofficial ‘land claim’ of a particular department.
They’re composed of soft lounge seating in common areas arranged to accommodate two to four people for informal get-togethers. The spaces can have screens and also plug-in spots where coworkers can power their laptops and smartphones or brainstorm on a whiteboard.
Being inside all day can be tough so it’s important for people to take a moment to get some fresh air and sunshine. An outdoor patio or green space next to your building is nice to have but not completely necessary. In most cases, you can transform your outdoor space into an event space even as in-person meet-ups resume.
If your company can’t provide outdoor space, your employees will likely find a nearby park or pleasant street to walk on forgetting their outside time.
Offices have evolved from cubicles under fluorescent lights to unique spaces that employees enjoy spending the day in. Ensuring your workspace has the right rooms and spaces creates an environment where your staff can do great work