Is the word ‘office’ dead……what 5 names for a workspace may replace the ‘office’ in a post pandemic

It has been widely discussed that the landscape of the office as we know it is dead, we have had to adapt to not only a new normal of working from home during a global pandemic, but now a newer normal of a socially distanced variation of our office buildings.

This transition has challenged people to see their workspace and their style of working in a different way. Companies as well as their employees are questioning the need for an office, the need for a desk, the need for in-person meetings. But to what end?

Some of the world’s biggest household names have declared their office spaces redundant and will keep their workforce flexible or at home…of course the world is not a one size fits all and so over the coming year or two, companies will likely ride a roller-coaster of adapting and educating to find the right balance.

As a pattern of behaviour that can be seen across many industries, management teams are changing their styles and strategies to suit a workforce that has been self-sufficient, independent and readjusting for several months. The emphasis seems less on the material perks and more so on the wellbeing, communication, sociality and culture of the working environment.

Such an accelerated evolution of working styles could result in office design becoming a process from the inside, instead of the outside, looking in. The focus on wellbeing had started to come in to trends and best practises within design long before the pandemic but could shift even further to how employees feel within a space, how the workspace effects their productivity, health, mindset and individual style. The result being the design prioritising the workforce, instead of being created around how the outside world visually see a business. This may see design features and the focal points of design be less about the office reception space and visitor suites, and more so in creating a variety of spaces to suit the wide range of different working styles that have formed over the past 3 months.

With new styles of working expected – what terms could replace the word ‘office’ when describing a workspace?

Lab

A place for discovery, research, breakthroughs, experimentation, attention to detail and process.

Hub

A place for collaboration, information, coordination, centralisation and flexibility.

Studio

A place for creativity, ideas, playfulness, sharing and experiences.

Workshop

A place for teamwork, production, creation, engagement and discussion

HQ

A place for structure, operations, stability, consistency, support and solidity.

As a topic that has been thrust in to the limelight - the ever changing world of the workspace is one to watch. The progression of working styles and environments may be condensed in to a far shorter period of time than the development of work spaces that was already in motion, due to this intense pinpoint in time and the shared experience of a global pandemic.

Long may the future workspace revolution continue!

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