There have been a lot of workplace articles in recent years trying to forecast what the workplace of the future will look like. So much so, that it can make your head spin trying to figure out what direction it will lead! Will the office become extinct? Will we all be working remotely 24/7? While no one is completely certain what the far-out future looks like for the office landscape, we do know that it’s not disappearing anytime soon; it will continue to evolve as new generations come into the workplace. People still want, and feel they need, an office environment to connect and collaborate with teammates.

With this said, there have been some staggering reports in the last few years that suggest only 30% of employees are engaged at work. Employers have been trying to figure out how to increase engagement, happiness, and attract & retain top talent – especially millennials, who recently surpassed Gen-X as the largest generation in the workforce, and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.

So what office trends are or aren’t in store for 2017? Below are some theories that have been floating around from Bergmeyer, Inc.com, Forbes, and Office Renew among a few more sources. Some might be tipping-the-scale the other way to what you may think.

Non-traditional benefits might actually become less popular

No more unlimited vacation day policies: This is an emerging popular trend. Last year many companies followed the lead of LinkedIn and Netflix by offering employees unlimited vacation days. Although this sounds amazing in theory, companies like Kickstarter recently retracted this benefit after realizing employees are more likely to take less vacation when they have an open-ended policy. They reinforced a 21-day limit back to employees to encourage time away from the office. Less free food: While free snacks are great, they can encourage employees to never leave the office. Employers are realizing employees need that time to reset their productivity. Free snacks are also likely to be packaged products, leading to unhealthy options in-house.

Less team email interaction and more instant messaging

Our email inboxes are inundated on a daily basis. Team instant messaging conversations can help minimize this burden. Bergmeyer’s #NextNow team has found Asana to be a great platform for internal team communication/messaging and task organization.

Leave slides and jungle gyms outside the office

We may have gone too far with the over-connected playscape office with slides, jungle gyms and foosball tables. It’s time to bring a sense of balance back to the workplace. While these are all fun perks for inside an office, these aren’t the sole office attractors for millennials, and are quickly becoming passe and overused marketing tools. Millennials would rather have a greater work/life balance in order to have time outside of the office to participate in healthy activities.

Coworking and remote working will rise

Coworking facilities will continue to rise in popularity with small companies and start-ups. It has also become a major attractor for larger employers who seek a secondary space for their employees who want the option to work remote some days. Bergmeyer’s current partnership with Workbar at Staples is an exciting venture, proving how larger companies can also participate in this coworking trend. Although remote working is not a solution for employee happiness, coworking facilities could drastically improve the current ‘working remotely from home’ model. People have reported that they actually work more hours when working from home since they feel the need to prove their productivity to employers. They also find themselves to be more on-call after normal working hours.

Peets

#NextNow is our way of keeping a pulse on the ideas and events that are moving the design industry forward. It is a curated place where we cover innovative ideas, reports and articles shared with insight and analysis.

Published Mar 28, 2017