The Future of the Office: Experts Weigh In

In the last 50 years, the office has changed dramatically. Who could have predicted in 1969 how the digital world would completely change the way everyone works? In October of that year, the first message was sent from one computer in California to another several hundreds of miles away. Professor Leonard Kleinrock, who sent that message, today refers to that moment as “the day the internet spoke its first words”.

Since that time, workplaces all across the globe have been reshaped in the mold of the digital era. The multi-millennial reign of the handwritten word has been overthrown in a handful of decades. Looking forward to what the next half-century might bring is a futile experiment without expert help. To find out, we’ve sought the informed opinions of physicists, futurists, architects, and even someone whose role is best described as a Play Expert. From their diverse perspectives we have come up with something that might hint towards what the future might bring.

Currently, we find ourselves in the grip of the open-plan office trend, but the office design of the future could look incredibly different. Jon Grant, interiors director at Chapman Taylor, predicts that the workplace could be split into different breakout zones to improve focus and creativity with additional lounges, noise-cancelling rooms, and brainstorming barns.

Soho Works’ Tanya Wood goes one step further, saying that the workplace shouldn’t just be about work. Future offices could closer resemble campuses, she goes on, incorporating gyms, games rooms and even bedrooms in search of healthier, happier workers. This blurring of work and personal life had already begun recently, with a steep rise in remote working, flexible hours and coworking spaces.

Many of the experts predicted a change in what workers are looking at from a company, with environmental impact becoming an increasingly important factor. Climate change is a concern for the next generation entering the workforce, and Lord Norman Foster predicts that employees will be impressed by companies’ facilities, lifestyle, and sustainability credentials.  

Take a look at the infographic to see the experts’ predictions in full.

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