Do you still work in a company office space? Do cubicles still ring a bell or, already a thing of the past? If you’re typing away while you’re tucked at a work-friendly space at home and in your PJs, good for you — it’s the most casual work can get. Although, the benefits of diversity in workplace is also welcoming the more collaborative, more social nature of millennials, and are affecting traditional workspaces in ways even the best office interior designers in the ’80s didn’t foresee.
For office workstation then and today are very different:
1. Cubicle (1986). The limited space offered by a tiny cubicle where each employee is confined to from 8 ’til way over 5 was characteristically ‘80s. Difficulty of movement typically caused back pains, and non-ergonomic chairs and tables were normal — nobody cared.
2. Standing Desk (today). These days, some of the best office designs either exclusively feature standing desks or, consist of mixed office interiors. These days, tanding desk costs the same as more traditional ones. The cubicles may still be there but, people can see easily see each other eye-to-eye. The traditional office work desk has been replaced by a sofa, a coffee table, a long table and a high chair bar facing the windows. More companies are also encouraging workers to exercise by throwing in treadmill desks into the mix.
The colors of furniture, too, are far from monotonous. According to a survey conducted by CanvasPop, 74 per cent of millennials surveyed said that art inspires them. It is no wonder why bold and artistic interior designs are also benefitting from the coming of millennials.
A typical office layout also includes storage space which is very differently defined then and now:
1. Filing Cabinets (1986). Back then, storage space took an entire floor, even two, of an office building. Every unit usually maintains a standard storage area just as it maintains a well-defined office space area per person. Filing cabinets commonly fill up office spaces and are often a source of chaos and even personal conflicts among people using them.
2. Cloud storage (Today). These days, all the files are up in The Cloud. Office hard disks have been quickly replaced by the convenience of cloud technologies. Files are mirrored and stored in servers located in a remote location. Some companies still use internal cloud while others have theirs managed by cloud storage providers.
Gossip is inevitable in any office arrangement. For as long as people are pulled together to work on the same projects, people are going to talk. One thing different then and now is where gossip happens:
1. Water Cooler (1986). People exchange notes about a new boss or a newcomer in the pantry. Whispers in these areas used to be prevalent. These days, hardly anybody stops to talk.
2. Chat Window (Today). These days, workers type away office gossip over their chat windows. Although, more have grown weary over the effects of gossip in the workplace and the threats to the privacy of these conversations as leaders get more control over what’s being sent over the office network.
Not only are employers buying the best office desk for their workers, more companies are also utilizing technologies to save on meeting costs:
1. In-Person Conference (1986). Back then, regional and global meet-ups required key positions to travel physically to a common location and meet up at an expensive conference center. A simple updating required a considerable amount of resources to pull together —not anymore.
2. Video Calling (Today). With a stable and reliable Internet connection linking all parties to a call together and, simultaneously, similar individual connections, web-based exchanges have made it possible for somebody in China to call up a colleague in Geneva at a pre-determined date and time to cover the time difference. It offers practically a free meeting space where all parties to the call have more time to do other things they need to do, and not spend 16 hours on a plane.
While work-life balance is not a new concept, the ways of balancing these competing priorities have evidently changed the workplace:
1. Crossword Puzzle (1986). During the ’80’s, HR will normally sponsor a bowling or basketball tournament, and probably even giveaway crossword puzzles to workers. Very few companies will offer free gym facilities.
2. Pingpong table (Today). In today’s office space, not only are gym memberships being given away, management will also typically have pingpong tables, sauna, and paid masseurs inside the Office R&R Room.
What’s being served for the tummy have also changed:
1. Brown Bag Lunch (1986). Office lunches typically consisted of meals or sandwiches-on-the-go. Workers are expected to take their lunches fast and go back to their respective workstations immediately.
2. Chef prepared meal (Today). These days, people meet and they linger. Other than that, the generally greater health consciousness today have also driven companies to make sure that workers are served only healthy, nutritious meals.
The physical and psychological effects of having plants in the workplace is not new but, again, today’s workspaces are doing things differently:
1. Fake plants (1986). Typical office plants meant fake plants simply because the main consideration then was aesthetics and not people’s health.
2. Green roofs (Today). Presently, offices are going all out and bold, transforming an entire roof deck into a mini park where their employees can breathe and relax. Indoor plants are also very much alive and will likely be showcased in pocket gardens.
Excited at these new prospects in the workplace? That’s not all! The proliferation of the Internet has also made virtual work and telecommuting possible. These days, work stations can either be located at a company building, a shared office space, where workspaces and meeting facilities are typically rented out to different companies, and even your own home.