Design an agile office for 2020

Posted in: Agile | Blog

The steady flow of the baby boomer generation out of the workplace as Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z pour in; is having an immense impact on our office space needs. In 2020, if you don’t keep up with this shifting landscape, your business runs the risk of stagnating. If you understand the differences and similarities between the generations however, you’ll be better equipped to create an office space which facilitates efficiency and meets the needs of your diverse staff compliment. What’s more, this can all be done stylishly with Ukhuni’s Agile office furniture range.

Generational Theory in the Workplace

In 2014 the last of the boomers turned 50 and the last Millennials turned 18. More than age however, the differences between generations can be seen in several key areas. New research conducted by Robert Half put these differences down to the ways we communicate, adapt to change and our technical skills.

The key take-aways are: 

  • Millennials tend towards more collaborative processes while boomers are more conservative in their approach, preferring more traditional operational structures and methods of learning. 
  • Having experienced many changes in the workplace through their careers, boomers are cynical while younger generations see it as ‘a vehicle for new opportunities’.

Changing Office Demographics

Before you assume that boomers are out and Gen X, Y and Z are in, we must point out that with increasing mortality rates across the globe people are remaining in the workforce for longer. As such we still need to cater to the needs of a broad range of employees. That said we are not only working with different age groups but we are also now finally beginning to realise more diverse staff compliments, some of which are not even in our office let alone our country. 

How We Will Work From 2020 Onwards

Employers have begun to notice the varying needs of their employees and are also increasingly aware of the benefits of accommodating more of these needs. After all, a company’s success does hinge on its staff, thus providing a better working experience can only be mutually beneficial. 

These changes are evident in several areas: 

  • There is a growing acceptance of flexible schedules. 
  • Employees leaning more towards contractual or project-based work rather than committing to long-term arrangements.
  • Remote work to accommodate differing lifestyle, travel and family needs.

In 2020 the Successful Office is Agile

Example of MOI's open agile office space, where people are collaborating
Photo credit: MOI Offices – Baltimore

By pinpointing not only who your workforce is but also how they work, you can begin to piece together a framework from which to build the space. Remembering that all of these factors can and do fluctuate, your workspace also needs to adapt and do so quickly and easily in the face of change and unpredictability. Agility not only applies to how businesses manage projects, hire staff and adopt new technology but it can and should also apply to how we arrange our spaces to match our needs as and when they arise. 

An agile workspace incorporates efficiency and flexibility to produce spaces which promote collaboration, maximise space and function in a variety of ways.

What an Agile Office Looks Like

Example of GWL realty advisors' agile office space, showcasing dynamic open spaces with movable furniture
Photo credit: GWL Realty Advisors Offices – Toronto

The agile work environment typically relies on these key elements: 

  • Open-plan – facilitate good communication within project teams.
  • Breakout area – for ad-hoc meetings, brainstorming, eating, relaxing.
  • Quiet zone – offer privacy for confidential meetings and place to concentrate.
  • Touchdown area – an overflow area for employees who are less frequently on site.
  • Workstation space – more formal than the overflow area but can include hot desks.
  • Resources – these areas house printers and stationery.

With this basic concept, the office can be arranged to best ensure that all the needs of the employees are met. The ability to collaborate, concentrate, relax and work in the traditional sense are all essential.

Agility On-Trend in 2020

FORA's office space with a large reception area that walk down into an open agile office
Photo credit: FORA Spitalfields

With agility in mind, you can easily understand why one of the biggest office trends in 2020 is that of dynamic flexibility. Through the clever use of large open-plan spaces, furnished with modular furniture and hot desks, you can meet the diverse working requirements of your employees.

Example of modular furniture that's been stacked to create a large seating area
Photo credit: Trade Desk Offices – Irvine

Ideal for open-plan offices, modular design is especially on-trend. The point is to offer standardised designs with the ability to arrange them in a custom manner to match the requirements of the space. This increases the functionality and scalability of the furniture.

Now that you know exactly how to optimise your office for agility and how to refresh its appearance, you can browse the Ukhuni Agile office furniture range. Choose from a range of pods, sofas, benches, walling, backrests and ottomans and slide into 2020 productively.