Why the future office will be as much about fun as work

Google’s headquarters in Zurich has a massage room, aquarium and a slide to deliver engineers smoothly and quickly to the canteen.

Google_Slide

Would a slide in the office persuade you into work?

Deloitte’s Amsterdam office was designed with one empty room on each floor for employees to put what they wanted in them – most have gone for games such as table football.

At LinkedIn’s Californian HQ there is a music room, stocked with keyboards, drums, guitars and audio equipment.

And allowing employees to bring their pets to work is increasingly common.

So when did our offices turn into playgrounds, and does this represent the new way of working?

Technological advances mean that staff can avoid the drudgery of commuting and work from home, coffee shops, or any number of exotic locations. So some companies are working extra-hard to make their offices more attractive places to be.

Office_Games

Image caption At Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters, one room on each floor is left for employees to furnish

A recent report from US software giant Citrix forecast that by 2017, some 50% of businesses would have a mobile working policy, and by 2020, 70% of people would work away from the office as often as they worked at a desk.

“Offices are expensive and office space will decline,” says Citrix vice president Jacqueline de Rojas.

This is partly due to bosses realising not all jobs need to be done from an office, but also because employees are increasingly demanding a better work-life balance, she adds.

That doesn’t mean that the office will die, though.

“Offices will become places of collaboration and connection because culturally we need touch points as we are social animals,” she says.

The ‘super-desk’

Citrix has installed “genius benches” at its London headquarters – essentially higher and longer shared desks that come with stools, not chairs.

 How about a slightly higher, less formal desk and chair - would that inspire you?

How about a slightly higher, less formal desk and chair – would that inspire you?

There are also moveable desks, like the ones at headphone maker Skullcandy’s office in Zurich. The desks can be configured to work individually or collaboratively, fitting together like puzzle pieces.

Meanwhile, marketing firm Barbarian Group has created a “super-desk” at its New York office which sits up to 170 people, and includes archways where staff can go for private chats.

Barbarian Group's "super-desk" includes archways for more informal seating

Barbarian Group’s “super-desk” includes archways for more informal seating

And Lego has taken hot-desking to the next level at its London and Singapore offices, introducing a system called activity-based working, which means that no-one has a fixed desk any more.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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