FUTURE-FORWARD DESIGN SOLUTIONS
Resilient Workplace 2.0
The future is here and COVID-19 is now manageable thanks to widespread antibody testing and vaccinations. But it’s left a significant impression upon the workplace as we knew it. At every level, in every industry, the workplace has changed. It’s now even more flexible, healthy, and customized than ever before; more resilient. Not only is it a safer environment for employees, it allows them to truly do their best work how it’s best suited for them – no matter where.
DLR Groupies take on the challenge of imagining what that future workplace might be like at three scales: the building, the office, and the workstation.
Enter here No more swivel doors now. All entrances are touchless. Seen in many markets, hotels, and other commercial buildings, offices now too have doors that slide open when someone approaches. Less touching, fewer germs.
Stay Well The building’s wellness floor includes activities for everyone: group meditations (in-person or virtual), complimentary massages, yoga, “old-school” gym equipment, a variety of sport simulations, a reading room, a sauna, and a few outdoor terraces. This floor also includes an artificial intelligent health suite; if you start to feel under the weather while in the office, simply walking through the doorway measures your vitals, telling you if you have a fever and any infection. Additionally, this is your one-stop (government-funded) shop for the now widely available coronavirus vaccine and other common medications.
Easy breezy It’s a fine spring day and the afternoon is warm. A gentle breeze blows through the newly leafed trees outside as you go get a coffee around the corner. When you’re back in the office, you can still take advantage of that thanks to the touchless but operable windows that your building is equipped with. In fact, by the time you get back to your seat, the building has already calculated that the temperature, moisture, and air quality are all within the range for open windows so that breeze is already flowing through the office. Hello, fresh air.
I forgot my badge! Not anymore. Now, with a simple app, your phone tells the building you have arrived. It sends a signal to your office to prepare your pre-selected workspace, whether that’s a desk, team room, or spot in the focus lounge. Your elevator is waiting for you with the pre-programmed floor. When you arrive to your office, your spot will be ready with your microclimate engaged.
Special delivery With the online shopping world being more popular than ever, your building now also includes a package holding station. You know you set your delivery address for that new pair of headphones to your office, and sure enough, early in the afternoon, the building’s app lets you know your package has been delivered to the station. Eager for crystal-clear sound, you go downstairs to verbally announce yourself to the station and get your new gadget. It even came a day early- score!
Let's meet You scheduled a mid-day touchpoint with your team. With employees allowed and encouraged to do their focused work wherever and whenever they prefer, you know two of your teammates work best at home in the morning, one works best in the office, and one works best at home in the evenings since their young child requires morning care. This 1pm hour is your team’s “core hour”; every team picks what works best for them and this is their time to be together, talk about tasks and ideas, and leave with their to-do list until the next meeting. Trust abounds and there has yet to be a conflict.
Numbers don’t lie When you arrive to your office door, you can see local, live statistics displayed. Air quality today is good both in and out of the office, with low particulate matter and infectious aerosols. You see that forty-three of your colleagues are in the office right now, twelve are working offsite, four are on the wellness floor, two are on vacation, and one has their work anniversary today. The doorway has taken your vitals as you walked through and tells you there are no concerns there, although your heart is beating a little fast from taking the stairs.
Casual collisions As you walk to your spot, you pass a few of your coworkers, exchanging pleasantries and you see your teammate as you pass the third of the office’s microkitchens. This spot has the best coffee machine, so he didn’t mind making the trek from across the office where he’s setting up a team meeting. More, smaller breakrooms mean people move around more, less people crowd one area at key times (reducing the frequency of need for disinfectants that negatively impact air quality), and more casual conversations are had.
It's easy being green With an “invisible” irrigation system in the walls and floors of each office, it’s never been easier to keep an office plant alive. The building knows exactly which plants are in which offices, and automatically distributes the ideal amount of water to each green friend. Employees now reap the benefits of biophilia without needing to remember to water them. Win-win!
Goodbye large conference rooms Your office’s conference room tracking showed that the largest conference room was only used 11% of the time. So, it was converted to a microkitchen that hosts the flavored seltzer machine and a few team rooms. These are shown to be used 79% of the day, so scheduling them is key. Although they are heavily used, after each team leaves, the room locks for 0.7 minutes while a UV light zaps any lingering germs and removes the writing from every surface. Don’t worry, it’s stored to the company’s cloud and distributed to the authors. Oh, and if you were curious, the seltzer microkitchen is the most popular, with an employee coming for a refill every 3.7 minutes.
The return of the cubicles Don’t be scared. These aren’t the things you remember seeing in an old 80s movie. They’re actually called “hexicles” now. Totally reimagined, these 50 SF, 6-sided micro-offices offer you privacy and transparency at the same time. Low walls with clear tops allow daylight to come through no matter where you are in the office, while still affording you the privacy of an enclosed space. You can raise or lower these depending on how social your task requires you to be – your coworkers know that if the clear walls are raised, you’re unavailable at the moment.
I me mine Your preferred workstation is ready for you, adjusted to your ideal temperature, light level, number of monitors, seat softness, color, and noise – you’re there to do some soft focus work, so your favorite jazz album is playing softly through your chair’s speakers. Your personal pictures are also loaded into the background of your station’s wall. You notice the notes you took on the writeable desk surface yesterday are reloaded and ready for your new scribbles. When you put your computer down onto the desk, it recognizes your machine and instantly pulls up whatever you last had on the screen. Plugs are a thing of the past, keeping your laptop free from the cords and wires your younger self had to deal with all those years ago. When you’re done for the day, a swipe in your phone’s app tells the workstation it can clean & disinfect itself to be ready for the next user.
Quiet, please When the time for focus work comes for those who prefer to do this work in the office, they have a multitude of options: they can raise their hexicle’s wall panels; they can book a one-person focus room (really an enclosed pod ideal for heads-down moments); or they can head to the building’s “quiet zone”, an area for anyone from any office in the building to come work in a quiet space, like a college library.
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THE RECONNECTED WORKPLACE
© DLR Group 2020
This information is statement of opinion presented for general informational purposes. DLR Group recommends an independent evaluation of applicable federal, state and local guidelines before implementing any strategy discussed herein.