At one point the concept of an open office took the world by storm, and many companies who claimed to be down with the future remodelled their space into a more open, collaborative effort.
But a few years down the line and many companies are once again returning to what is now deemed as the “traditional” office space – but why?
In the beginning, the open office chatter involved key words like collaboration and communication and equality. But it turns out that people weren’t too thrilled because they couldn’t cope with the sudden abundance of noise – or lack of privacy.
Also, germs seemed to be an issue.
This insight comes from Jacob Morgan, author of The Future of Work, who wrote a piece for Inc.. In it, he explains that returning to traditional spaces is not the answer – you need to go one step further:
An office by itself is just architecture and a building. What really makes the difference is the people and the environment of the office.
Open offices are thought to be more forward thinking, but just because a company switches to an open office doesn’t automatically make it a modern, future-proof organisation.
Likewise, an organisation working in a closed office space isn’t automatically traditional and stodgy. An office is merely the bones of the company that must be supported with the right culture and environment.
You understand? Now let’s get to the future of office spaces:
The future of work isn’t really about office structure – it’s about providing each employee the resources and environment to do their job to the best of their ability.
The workplace is changing to customise the experience for employees to create an environment that showcases how and where they want to work. If an employee feels more engaged and productive in a private workspace, an organisation should provide that, and if an employee feels more engaged in an open space, an organisation should be able to provide that.
Like Cartel House.
(You know the one, the offices of Cape Town’s premier members’ office space spread between two buildings on Loop Street.)
Cartel House not only offers luxuries like a pool and a clubhouse on the roof, a gym on another floor and 2oceansvibe’s soon-to-be first retail experience, Cafe du Cap, on street level, but wi-fi, boardrooms, and instant app service (delivering coffees to your person) too.
And that’s just the sort of space Morgan is talking about:
With that in mind, many companies are creating a hybrid type of office, which really is the workspace of the future.
These types of offices have open spaces for employees who need to collaborate or who thrive on interaction, but it also has private workspaces and quieter offices for introverts or people who need to focus without the distraction of an open office.
Other than the “perks,” it’s the space the people at Cartel House have created that is important. They provide a number of options for office space that allow you to move between throughout the workday.
There are desks that can be moved for conversations, as well as a room known as “The Library,” where employees can have a quiet, comfortable environment with couches and tables – and books.
Throughout the office space are other small meeting rooms and kitchen nooks for conversations, as well as individual private workspaces for companies who need to make a phone call or work on their own.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about the culture:
What is the design of your office space?
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