We live in a world that is changing rapidly. The internet revolution is upon us and the world wide web has changed our lives more than we could expect. Today, we have gadgets that many would have thought impossible to have 20 years ago, and the influence of a digital world is felt by almost everyone today.
As expected, the changes that our world is experiencing is affecting our work and consequently our workspaces. The internet has had a lot of influence on what we look at as design and the traditional idea of productivity. Cubicles and the isolation of workers into rows used to be the way to drive optimum productivity, but the world of today is quickly moving past that.
The offices of today are fast becoming more fluid, flexible and built for communication and productivity instead of isolation. More and more companies are investing in offices that have open spaces that encourage creativity and are consequently investing less in rigid and unmovable office structures.
Did you know that working in a flexible office drives more productivity and creativity?
If you've ever been to companies like Google and Facebook, you'll be certain to notice a certain air of relaxation and playfulness. This isn't because the workers in these spaces don't work. Rather, it is because it has been proven that these are the sort of spaces that drive productivity and creativity in today's world. As office work leaves big and unmovable desktop computers to the screens of slim laptops, tablets and phones, the furniture needed for work will also be undergoing a change. Instead of desks being assigned, offices will invest more in things like couches and movable sit-stand workstations.
Office furniture in the future will change radically. One can expect to see novel ideas like all in one desk bikes taking over. This is because people have discovered that rigidity hampers productivity and the most productive workers are the happy and fit ones. With office hours getting longer, it is important that office furniture takes cognizance of the comfort of the employees. This has brought about the evolution of new and interesting workspace furniture like backless chairs that encourage the upright position of the spine, and sit-stand desks that are designed to promote good posture. Of course, many office spaces still make use of cubicles and traditional desks and chairs, but more and more of these spaces are making a shift to the worker-centric design of the workspace.
What would the office space look like in the next 50 or 60 years?
Well, we don't know for sure— but we can make an educated guess based on how office furniture has evolved in the last fifty years. Fifty years ago, standard rows of desks were the norm, but slowly they gave way to workstations that reflected the importance of computers to the activities of workers. And now, as the internet begins to leave the screens of desktops to the screens of our tablets, phones and laptops, and as wireless technology begins to evolve, it is likely that offices start being mobile and stop being the rigid space that we used to know.
However, the future of office furniture isn't only dependent on desks and chairs, it is also dependent on the type of design that office spaces will be taking in the near future. Because of the power of wireless technology, office areas will be open and will be optimized for creativity. It is also possible (and quite probable, one might add) that the office will stop being the primary place of work for a lot of people. Therefore the stereotypical image of a hall with rows and rows of cubicles seem to be coming to a rather late end.
A lot more work, through the use of networks such as Skype and Google meet, will be done virtually and this obviously would mean a less crowded workspace. In that case, it would be significantly easier for offices to be planned in an airy and spacious way— something that may not be possible today due to the sheer number of people reporting to work every morning.
In any case, one thing is clear; the world is changing, and almost everything is changing with it. The companies of the future will have office spaces that try to optimize creativity and increase the comfort of workers in order to increase productivity. And if there's one that history has taught us, it is that the nature of these spaces will have an important effect on the kind of furniture that workers of the future will use.