There has been a massive shift in office space style in recent years. Trends from the 80s with rows of private cubicles have been swapped for open plan layouts for all teams to collaborate. Senior managers having their own offices is a concept slowly being phased out so that all staff are together to encourage a more open communication and less of a hierarchical feel between colleagues. Whilst all this has been going on, office space real estate has adapted to the needs of the market; serviced office space has grown by a whopping 90% in the past ten years to accommodate the demand for low commitment and flexibility. The co-working ideology has massively taken off in the UK too, seeing freelancers, start ups and small businesses utilising occasional desk space rather than committing to the burden of a permanent base.
Working environments aside, the actual people who will be filling them is set to change. The next generation of workers, graduates and technology brings with it a whole plethora of variation which could alter the way we work. As of 2020, 36% of workforces will be made up of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996, though this is regularly debated). There is often a tangible culture shift between generations, and different impetus on working priorities; for millennials there is a preference for tech-based communication, flexible working and open plan office space and a more relaxed, informal dress code (when and where appropriate). There is a direct correlation between the up and coming workforce and the trends in working style, so this is no surprise when looking back on the recent jumps in popularity for these work environments.
Something becoming more apparent in the workplace is broadening diversity within companies. There are more opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds and there are less places to hide for companies who have previously only recruited from specific universities or backgrounds. This makes for a more inclusive work-spaces and a forward-thinking approach, rather than an out of touch echo chamber of similar ideas. The diagram below shows some interesting statistics on the current state of the UK workforce.
Another movement that looks to be gearing up to make an impact is artificial intelligence. It is being utilised for for data collection and programming amongst many other purposes. AI is currently used to converse with customers via chat-bot scenarios as it assists with streamlining the process at point of enquiry for a number of businesses, allowing questions to be answered without impacting on staff resources. There is of course the hot topic of automation and robots for manual tasks, something that has been in practice for years at factories, but is being deemed as a rising possibility for lowering company expenditure across the board. AI is certainly due to ramp up with business use so it is certainly a trend to watch and be vigilant of…