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A company is made up of people, not spaces

The development of IT technology and the demands of a specialized and complex society have increased the importance of workspace.
Since the workspace is where you spend most of your daily life and where you communicate and exchange ideas,
the workspace is changing into a user-oriented, creative, and smart space to enhance creativity and work satisfaction.
This article will be talking about some of these changing trends.
Article. Editor’s Office / Photo credit. Each architect’s office, AN News, Hufton+Crow, Christian Beutler, TeamBank AG, Jut Group, W-Workspace

Opening up to communicate and make organic connections

Global companies are improving their working spaces to be more efficient and comfortable according to the recent global trend, which emphasizes an open plan that leads to openness in work. This is to increase efficiency and communication through an open layout, as opposed to having walls and doors that cut off communication. Having employees from different departments in the same space is also known to increase creativity.

A local company transformed its lobby from a place to simply pass through into a lounge, where people can stay, talk, and share ideas in open meeting zones and with moving boards. Google has implemented an open and creative office concept. A variety of functions is given to the office building, transforming it into a creative play space beyond being simply a working space.

An office building in Russia has been designed to demonstrate continuity of organic structure with continuous overlapping and weaving. The lines of stairs are connected to balconies on each floor, bringing together the interior space as a whole. This design reinforces the concept of open connectivity throughout the building and encourages collaboration and communication between IT start-up companies that are located in the building.

Constructing a creative space with functionality and flexibility

Another change in office design is the introduction of various plan configurations and complex functions that emphasize common spaces. In the past, the office was the center of the workspace, but nowadays, spaces that combine multiple functions, such as break and work, work and meeting, and break and community, are incorporated to promote creative thinking. Employees not only work, but also share their resources and talents in those spaces.

Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Naver are companies that have implemented the new office concept of diverse and creative spaces. A German company, easyCredit, has built a pioneering office environment by introducing the concept of open communication throughout large and open office space. They divided the space into different zones, home zone, meeting zone, and creative zone, after researching the type of work, and implemented a design that breaks away from conventions. This allows employees to meet and communicate freely anywhere, and even inside the company, they can feel like being in a park or streets. In addition, as the use of spaces become flexible and adaptable to the needs of employees, instead of having a fixed position and purpose, even the spaces that were considered dead space, or spaces like corridors, windows, and the lower sides of staircases separated from main spaces, are now being used with more flexibility.

Improving work efficiency by introducing a smart system

With the development of IT technology, integration of smart systems into workspaces has become an indispensable component. Internet of Things and VR/AR technologies that apply advanced science and technologies are converging with space to increase work efficiency. Employees can work autonomously by using a seat reservation system and communicate freely without spatial constraints using an in-house application. Application of facial recognition to the work environment by introducing a 5G smart office system is also intended to increase work efficiency.

Hyundai Glovis’ G-Square, a digital office system, allows employees to use mobile devices, such as personal smartphones and tablet PCs, to handle business-related matters. Under this system, employees work independently, create or store documents, and use video conferencing by utilizing messenger-based collaboration solutions and digital cloud environments. The flexible working-hour system and free seating system are examples of the new corporate culture that show companies' efforts to ensure employees' autonomy and increase work efficiency.

Furthermore, the workspace has been recently improved with the design concept of ‘a space for balancing,’ through which we are seeking to introduce a digital-centered, non-face-to-face collaboration system in response to the post-COVID era.

De-stress in an eco-friendly environment

Another trend is biophilic design, which helps reduce stress by adding an eco-friendly design resembling nature to an urban work environment. Courtyards and landscaping are boldly applied to the lobby, staircase, office space, and even toilet. Vertical landscaping on walls and roof gardens with moss are also examples of biophilic design.

Use of ‘planterrior’ is spreading as part of the green office trend. Amazon, for example, planted 40,000 plants inside its office building. In addition, an oil field development company in Thailand built a three-dimensional courtyard with stairs and landscaping. A Taiwanese company also made the entire wall and floor of their office building to resemble nature.

“A company is not made up of desks, computers, restaurants, and conference rooms. It is made up of people,” said Jeff Pochepan, CEO of StrongProject, an office design firm. The importance of people in workspace design cannot be overemphasized. In fact, aren't many companies changing the characteristics of their workspaces in line with the growth of their employees?

By striking an appropriate balance between autonomy and efficiency, it is possible to promote employee privacy and concentration for enhanced focus, while also allowing for relaxation and creativity. Creation of such spaces will not only enhance the competence of a company, but also act as a driving force for sustainable development.

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