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Chances are, when you think of an office, you imagine rows of dreary cubicles under the garish glow of fluorescent lights, white walls lined with overly earnest motivational posters, staplers, copy machines, and Steve Carell. While this may have been true for the offices of yesteryear (and some that are still behind the times), increasingly today’s workplaces channel less Office Space and more Silicon Valley.
We’ve written before about moving our design and advertising agency into a local co-working space, a decision that’s enabled the Oblique Design team to reduce our ecological footprint and work alongside other creatives (win-win!). But what we didn’t mention is that the space itself is gorgeous, with plenty of windows, exposed brick walls, and personality bursting from every corner. It’s an inviting, energetic place that makes us glad to come to work. In other words, this ain’t your grandpa’s office building.
What sets vibrant, modern workplaces like ours apart from their soul-sucking predecessors? Here are a few of the ways offices are evolving, and with them, the way we work.
Unsurprisingly, Google is leading the trend in office space innovation. Their new 200,000-square-foot Boulder campus is stacked with amenities that would make a luxury condo development blush, including an on-site cafe and an indoor climbing wall. The company also offers employees a number of perks: free meals, free massages, and a $5 daily stipend for those who opt to walk or bike to work.
These conveniences and benefits are designed to keep employees happy, but also to make staying at work attractive—after all, why go for a lunch break when there’s free food just down the hall? By giving workers everything they need, Google aims to increase employee engagement and productivity.
Varied Work Spaces & Hours
People’s work-styles often differ from one another, so tossing everyone into the same setup and expecting all of them to focus just doesn’t make sense. Our office at TEEM features a variety of work spaces, from community tables to quiet rooms. Finding solitude or a change of scenery is easy when there are multiple options available.
Many modern workplaces also offer employees the freedom to work from home on occasion, giving people the autonomy and flexibility they need to feel in control of their lives. Research on the subject suggests that the secret ingredient to finding happiness at work isn’t money, but autonomy.
Similarly, some companies allow people to work flexible hours, so employees with busy schedules—and who doesn’t have a busy schedule these days?—get to manage their time in a way that works for them.
Tech, Tech, and More Tech
We can thank startup culture for many of these improvements, but technology is the real MVP here: the true driving force behind changing office life. When all you need to do your job is a computer and an Internet connection, it becomes less necessary to spend time tethered to a desk.
Technology also allows businesses to go paperless, which not only saves our friends, the trees, but valuable time as well. At Oblique, we strive to be as eco-conscious as possible, choosing sustainable design practices and electronic delivery methods for our projects.
We’re all about more convenience, flexibility, and sustainability in the workplace, and we’re glad employers are catching on. We look forward to seeing what the future of office work will bring as values continue to change.