Musical Desks: Today’s offices are on the move

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Musical Desks: Today’s offices are on the moveKaren Schwartz
April 24, 2018

Forget the red stapler. New office layouts are diverse and flexible, ready to be configured and reconfigured for individual and collaborative work without a static cubicle in sight.

The face of the office is changing, as are the ways employees will interact with it. A new generation of workers is headed to the office, and an evolving workplace is emerging that will be there to greet them.

New office designs include layouts that make it easy to stand, sit, work alone or in groups, in privacy or in an open space that fosters input, says the New York Times.

That’s a far cry from the one-per-person offices, which gave way to rows of cubicles and then the phenomenon where hardly anybody had walls to hang family pictures on.

Airbnb recently expanded its headquarters in San Francisco with a new building that includes themed floors and meeting rooms inspired by listings. Reports say the work spaces are divided between communal tables, phone and meeting rooms, and a top floor designed for more individual work.

And Harvard Business Review wrote in 2016 about the different ways companies were working to foster more collaboration in the workplace. A lot of it, HBR reports, has to do with using metrics to see how people interact in the office space, and designing areas that put people in face-to-face situations. Big companies like Google, Facebook and Samsung, it points out, are designed to encourage a certain kind of flow among employees.

Still, even with all of the evolution in the office, a number of workers in the years to come are expected to be working outside of a traditional office setting. This will open the door to even more diverse possibilities for workspaces and time structures to fit a variety of needs tied to the gig economy, and a generation of workers with new expectations for more flexibility on the job.

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