A combination of new ways of working, activity-based settings and multi-locations are beginning to substitute traditional offices, giving way to modern workplaces and new trends are expected to be in line till 2020. Innovation supporting the workstyles of the new age workforce has changed the approach to office design that focused on entitlement has given way to the fulfillment of the workers choice.
The fast evolution of technology is the key driving force of this change, altering traditional models of working. Especially in workplaces, three fundamental shifts that have changed the face of the industry in the last decade are artificial intelligence, mobility solutions, and automation.
Innovation being at the core of success, organizations are choosing to augment the work environment with tech-enabled solutions, giving rise to a new breed of offices that are cool, edgy and interactive like never before. The pace of technology evolution is ensuring that workplaces will see a dramatic shift by 2020.
It is anticipated that by 2020 shared workplaces will overtake the traditional serviced offices. The top three metro cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru, and NCR offer by far the best opportunity for creating shared spaces that will serve the just in time needs of young entrepreneurs, millennials, start-ups as well as global firms with their flexible lease options and location benefits.
The workplace transformation began when the rise of shared workspaces turned the archaic methods of the real estate developers with their age-old customs of lock-in period, security deposit and long-term leases providing an opportunity for disruption by creating ease and flexibility for the customer. Currently, there are a little over 200 premium business centres across the country that are set to double by 2020.
While the commencement of shared workplaces was aided by the demand of entrepreneurs and freelancers, the privileges and utilities of those are no longer enjoyed only by them. SMEs and corporates are now in embracing the idea of shared workspaces that provide conveniences and engagement with like-minded community delivering a superior experience and increased employee productivity. They have realised the fact that shared workspaces tend to be more sociable and less hierarchical than corporate workspaces, which helps encourage employees to engage with other community members resulting in cross-pollination of ideas.
By 2020, workplaces will be designed as activity-based settings that will focus supporting the work style of the employees with a mix of technology integrated space and curated experiences delivered within the workspace. Millennials are already shaping office spaces today and are looking for high quality, high speed connectivity, reliable and covetable products at work.
Collaborative technology is the necessity for us to meet the needs of today’s younger generation. New age activity settings have come to replace conventional desks and cubicles at a faster pace and this trend will continue to grow in the coming years.
Laptops and smartphones will transform into the voice-activated assistant, wearable technology, including wearable glasses, embedded chips, and wrist devices connected with the Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring seamless connection of work surfaces and individuals. This will also lay a foundation for individuals to assess how technology is enabling alliances and accessibility from any place at any point in time.
The ability of devices to interact with individual’s preference will provide personal data that will help create workplace solutions that are customized to individual work styles. Space infrastructure including lighting, air conditioning, and air quality will adapt to the task at hand, the number of users and work setting. The idle time for desks, conference, cafeteria and training spaces will drop to zero ensuring full utilization of assets and contribute to reducing the real estate square footage required with the advent of technology.
An obvious choice for real estate owners
In the coming years, shared workplaces will become an obvious choice for landlords, real estate agents, and tenants looking to occupy the floor-space. With the real estate market in India reacting to the advent of shared workspaces, there will also be a greater demand for office spaces focused on flexible leasing terms.
This is also because the rentals of such spaces are negotiated every year as compared to once in three years in the conventional leasing model. As survey reports say, with the office rental costs rising in India, the total space leased by shared workplace operators is expected to stand at 10-12 million sq. ft. by 2020.
Shared workspaces for corporates
While shared workplaces started off aiding the demand of entrepreneurs, it’s not just digital nomads and entrepreneurs taking advantage of those facilities anymore. SMEs and major corporations have already started sharing office spaces and this is where the big opportunity will be in the coming years. Alternative workspaces and activity-based working concepts are the results of simultaneous disruption and innovation in the workplace sector.
The corporates looking for the flexibility of lease terms, extended location for regional and sales offices and choice for employees to work near home are fast adapting to the shared workspace solution. The SME’s are upgrading their current workspaces by relocating their complete offices into shared workspaces taking advantage of per-seat pricing and flexibility.
Workplace flexibility will take the centre stage
Shared workspaces are all set to give more flexible options to users, than what they’re doing today. Gen-next will be on-the-go with walkable treadmill workstations, pedal tables, virtual assistant integrated desks, mobile vans, smart sensing technologies that redefine the concept of flexibility at work. Mobile offices will lead the way for remote working and establish an on-the-spot work environment anywhere and everywhere.
The ability to put one’s business in motion will empower employees to work on real-time basis. Allowing flexible desk assignments will allow companies to operate with a smaller footprint. Developing a family-friendly workplace will encourage working parents to be within office premises while catering to their children as well.
Virtual workspaces will be the norm
Future of work will be creative with a tinge of virtual reality. From the definition of workspace being ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’, digitization is transforming the future of work across dimensions. The virtual workplace is becoming more of a reality and VR technology is playing an instrumental role in setting up of virtual meetings.
An individual will be able to put on a VR headset and have access to a virtual mouse, keyboard, and unlimited monitors. Online meetings will be enhanced through the use of avatars, 3D visualizations, and strong telepresence, essentially creating a truly collaborative environment that web and video conferences have been unable to achieve.
Workplace design will take precedence
Ergonomics and workplace design will aim to fulfilll functional requirements and influence the productivity of workers. With the disruptive innovation-driven workforce settling in, the revolution will be all about design. Companies have to re-design their offices to appeal to the new generation workforce. While researching on emerging trends in real estate, global experts have observed that approximately 10% of millennials are willing to take a pay cut to work in an office in a good location and with a good design.
By 2020, millennials are expected to form 50% of the global workforce.
A rising trend will be the incorporation of sophisticated sensors that will constantly monitor environmental conditions, the way space is being used and even employee’s emotional and physical wellbeing. This will enable offices of the future to shape-shift for maximum efficiency, alter temperature and lighting levels, and make adjustments automatically.
An ergonomically designed workplace creates a positive difference in the attitude of workers and inspires employees to be passionate and efficient in their work. Shared workspaces with collective ethos will scale up, offering a platform for diverse communities to co-exist. This will help in blurring the lines of workspace, living space, entertainment spaces in relation to buildings, central business districts and cities creating future workspaces that are integrated and resonating with new age workers.