The ability to use technology to work from virtually anywhere in the world continues to gain traction. In fact, it’s predicted that the global mobile workforce will increase to 1.87 billion people in 2022, accounting for 42.5% of the total global workforce.
Imagine cutting two hours from your commute each day, taking your kids to and from school, or having lunch at home with your partner before heading to the local coffee shop to finish your to-do list. More and more employees are imagining these lifestyles. And as a result, more and more businesses are considering ways to provide office environments that mirror these employee interests.
What does this mean for the future design of office spaces? Less space will be needed, in general, but also more intentional use of the fewer square feet.
Follow along as we discuss how to design a workspace for the mobile workforce:
1. Support a Range of Devices
With the change of workforce location, comes a change of primary work devices. Employees are moving toward smaller, more portable devices. Also, wearables (smart glasses and smartwatches) and ultrabooks are expected to be the primary work devices by 2020. This may change the design of your workspace, eliminating the need for desktop computers, larger desks, outlet placement and more.
2. Create Welcoming Work Environments
As your workforce becomes more mobile, it’s important to be mindful of your work environment. Here’s a list of design elements to consider when creating a welcoming work environment:
- Trade private offices for private areas. The need for private offices is decreasing, while private rooms for individual meetings are essential to the new workplace environment. To keep communication strong between employees, create a private room for meetings with remote workers.
- Consider implementing “hot desking,” which is a style of office organization that lets employees work from whatever desk is available, rather than have assigned seating for everyone.
- Designate a centralized location for remote employees who may come into the office from time-to-time. Open and comfortable seating is important for these on-the-go employees who won’t need a desk every single day.
A welcoming and collaborative physical office space gives all of your employees — remote or otherwise — a chance to engage and build connections with other coworkers, therefore improving employee satisfaction.
3. Analyze Your Space and Adjust if Necessary
Here at Carson Design Associates, we often conduct Space Utilization Studies with companies who are looking to grow, don’t have enough space, or want to downsize. When planning for a mobile workforce, a redesign or downsize may be in your future.
Our approach to workplace planning is to engage in a discovery phase that includes data gathering and analysis to arrive at a research-driven understanding of the physical space, technology, social and cultural matters that directly correlate to productivity within your company. As we work with our clients, we see the business need to recruit, retain, and promote a culture. We strive to create a workplace that delivers the client’s needs — as well as the individual user’s needs — while keeping in mind current strategies.
We gather our information through a variety of methods appropriate for our client’s outcome: onsite observations, surveys, and interviews. We seek to uncover a comprehensive picture of how people interact within the facility to identify:
- work styles
- functional requirements
- what’s working
- what’s not working.
Then we strive to combine this data with fundamental design doctrines to arrive at a workplace solution that fits our client’s organizational needs.
If you have questions about your space and how to accommodate the mobile workforce, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!