What goes up must come down. It’s interesting how trends in interior design and architecture change over time. It’s often a cause and effect. I was sitting in a CEU (us designers never stop learning) and was hearing the presenter speak about the “knowledge worker.” Basically this is someone who carries technology with them. While I’m not sure I agree with the definition of a knowledge worker, one thing that struck me in the presentation is when she was saying that there is a new trend in corporations to bring people back to HQ. More and more organizations are doing this, and it’s something that after reflecting a bit, would completely agree with. Although, I have thought more about the reasons.
In the workplace people have different goals and objectives, but ultimately we crave community and interaction. We are social beings. Yesterday’s offices were boring and that pushed the new generation and some adaptable people out into the world craving life and something exciting. While many people chose to relocate to third spaces such as coffee shops, restaurants and even parks, there has been a halt in development that takes place and innovation in the workplace has become stagnant. As an effect of this, corporations and businesses of all sizes have started to feel the pinch and realize that they need to do something to shake things up and encourage innovation in the workplace. Everyone claims to be a leader, but how can they lead if they are behind the times?
There has been a shift in progressive organizations that have started to design office space in a way to attract young and cutting edge talent. Many designers have turned to collaborative and open environments, but I think that it’s so much more than that. When a destination is created within the workplace, people want to come and gather. We can be alone anywhere, but we crave being with like minded individuals and the newly designed workplace fosters an environment where this is possible and even encouraged.
Organizations want their employees to spend more time at the office because they see something is different and productivity is soaring. What they don’t realize is that they are creating something so much larger than what they believe to be true. They are creating a community, a destination and by shaking things up, they are giving their employes no choice but to think differently. As thinking patterns shift, new ideas occur and innovation comes to the surface propelling the organization to the next level, maybe into leadership in their industry, somewhere they tried to make themselves believe the entire time.