Office space are no longer considered just assets, but strategic tools for growth. Not only are more companies realizing that high-quality space design is a way to attract and retain talent, they are also understanding the importance of workspace to support business processes, influence company culture, and also accommodate appropriate technologies.
Indeed, more and more companies have had the revelation that deliberate workplace design can drive creativity, and that’s why optimizing office design has become a top priority for employers that value innovation. Creative thoughts and effective communication often comes from interaction, as shown in various studies on density, proximity of people, and social nature, so how to maximize interaction and chance encounters have become the key to designing innovation-driven workspace.
When efficiency was valued more than innovation at the start of the century, the trend to design workspace with open plan was aimed to squeeze as many workers as possible and to maximize productivity. It was also during the era when companies were molding their workspace through Activity Based Working (ABW), where different types of spaces were designed for various tasks. For example, those that need to focus are assigned to work in enclosed cubicles to be undisturbed, while workers that rely on interactions or creativity perform their tasks in open lounge spaces to maximize innovation. Nowadays, the trend in the office landscape shows a ubiquitous design to maximize collaboration, although some industries (media, arts, communications, tech) are adapting to the trend more easily than the others (finance, legal). Brookings Institute’s study on innovation spaces interviewed various architects, stating that workspace is becoming increasingly more open, transparent and inviting to foster creativity.
Another significant shift is a gradual democratization of the office design process. Those that use the space are gaining more opportunities to articulate how they would like to envision their working environment. After all, office space is designed for people who work in them. Since Millenials are becoming increasingly dominant at work when compared to the GenXers and Baby Boomers, their predilection for a more collaborative work culture is influencing the design of workspace that are easier to congregate, cooperate, and socialize.
Sometimes, people only associate the “hip and cool” look with creative work space, but there’s so much more design concepts that were put into place to foster innovation, such as space assigning, adaptively reducing noise, inspiring décor that awakens creativity, and etc.