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Future of Workplace Flexibility – Physical environment

  • Future Workplace

Author: Noel Brewster

Noel is our Workplace Expert. Contact Noel Brewster via

workplace flexibility

This is part of the “Future of Workplace Flexibility” series. If you wish, you can read Data and Power in the workplace, the first part of the series. 

Some small adjustments in the office could pay dividends to the physical space requirements within the building. Reducing the number of used wired to connect the technology equipment in the office is a great example. This unnoticed modification could potentially impact constructed buildings using different techniques.

Simultaneously, it will grant more internal areas (usable space) back to the users. The potential of this increased space could give rise to higher ceiling heights, improving the sense of openness users perceive and increasing access to natural light. We see examples of this in buildings such as Epicentre in Amsterdam. Here, collaboration through technology is at the essence of the working environment. Structures could also potentially become more lightweight and allow for greater overall volumes of buildings and reduced construction costs.

Reducing the internal environment

The internal environment of these buildings could also be more easily configurable with the reduction of the need to hardwire technology. Possible implications to space are the removal of walls. Which then has a further impact on how users interact with the technology at the workplace. Otherwise, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will replace the partitions in the building. Allowing the visual communication and data to be more immersive and intuitively interactive for users. This would not necessarily make your colleagues more pleasant to deal with. But the experience could be similar to having them actually in the room with you.

workplace flexibility
Fig 1. Augmented reality interview with Eden Hazard following a Belgium international match

Connected environment

In the future of workplace flexibility, the furniture, fixtures and fittings within these environments will become connected items. The internet of things (IoT) will allow elements in an environment to become more intelligent. Allowing better-informed decisions on infrastructure made at an individual level. Maximising the performance of the space for better utilisation throughout the environment’s life cycle. This means that offices, down to individual desks, can be adjusted to personal preferences and tasks. The environmental controls will no longer be limited to air conditioning through the building management systems but will encompass all aspects of the workplace.

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