07/11/2023 • 4 min read

What Does the Future of the Office Look Like?

5 crucial themes for fostering connection and culture

by Haworth, Inc.

Employers are reconsidering the future of the office due to social shifts over the last few years. Adapting to the new workplace will include assessing some important dynamics: access to people and information, behavioral patterns while working, and how spaces support people’s needs.

Haworth’s Work from Anywhere approach shows how the landscape of work is evolving. While work can be done at home or a third place, like a coworking space or café, the office has become the hub of this ecosystem—it’s where people come together.

“As we look at this future of the office, what will it be? It will be a destination for all the culture and connection and performance happening there,” according to Marta Wassenaar, who leads the Advance Research and Insights team within Haworth's Global Innovation and Design organization. She shared some of her research and insights during a Haworth Connect presentation.

“We have to understand how our workforce is going to participate in our offices. That really ties into how we look at the office landscape as we move toward the future,” Marta said. Five themes are crucial to participation in the future of the workplace: immersive technology, more collaboration, focus to restore, space shift, and more human.

1. Immersive Technology

Technology has become ubiquitous, and every workspace must support technology for physical and virtual connections. Space design should consider how users will interact with technology—in open or enclosed spaces, as well as in individual or group spaces. Expanding the use of technology can help us understand how to use space for optimal user and facility performance.

2. More Collaboration

Collaboration is one of the main reasons people go into the office—for structured interactions like meetings or more spontaneous encounters. Creating desirable workspaces includes providing spaces that foster those kinds of interactions, which improve company culture and help people do their best work.

3. Focus to Restore

In addition to functional workspaces, the office of the future must also include spaces that help protect people from stress and burnout. When employees can recharge their batteries at work, they’ll feel a greater sense of well-being. Balancing spaces for focus work, collaboration, socializing, and restoration in the workplace will be a key challenge for employers in this new era of work.

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4. Space Shift

In the hybrid work era, people have more flexibility in where they work. They can often choose to work from home or come into the office, and offices may be less full than they used to be. While some employers are reducing their real estate footprint, others are coming up with more creative ideas for the office, integrating traditional workstations, meeting rooms, focus areas, third places, and spaces for relaxation.

5. More Human

Workplaces should be centered around human needs as well as human performance. People need comfortable environments—not just in a physical sense, but emotionally and cognitively, too. Showing hospitality to employees can improve organizational culture, foster well-being, and promote engagement. In short, the office should be a place where people want to be, not one where they have to be.

More on the Future of the Office

Learn more about how Haworth envisions the ways workplaces will evolve in a new era of work.


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