3D-printed office
The Office of the Future in Dubai is the world’s first 3D-printed office. Technology has challenged traditional ways of doing business and designing workplaces Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Today’s technology has disrupted traditional ways of doing business. Think about this: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. Airbnb, the largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.

The transformations in business have also influenced workplace design. Here are five trends according to Mustafa Khamash, founder and managing director of the Kart Group.

1. The shrinking office

Technology has shrunk the devices that are being used — we see young entrepreneurs conducting business through their mobile phone or tablet, instead of from behind a big desk. Floor plans have shrunk while mobile technology has ensured that people do not have to be tied to their desks.

2. Collaborative work

Flatter hierarchies and the rise in collaborative work, seen especially in today’s digital companies, means that the days of the cubicle farm are most definitely over. Workspaces have more transparency today and we have seen it percolate into the corporate culture as well.

3. Artisanal approach

In an increasingly digitised world, we still crave a connection with what is authentic and timeless. That could take the form of handcrafted textiles, carefully curated interior accessories and bespoke furniture. We have observed users increasingly gravitate to artisanal products made by hand, appreciating the labour and age-old techniques used to create them.

4. Biophilic design

There is a well-established link between mental well-being and time spent in nature. When the weather makes it challenging to spend time outdoors, introducing plants into the workspace helps bring the same psychological benefits.

5. Changing lifestyles

To attract and retain the best talent, companies are offering several facilities today that include in-house gyms and gaming rooms to coffee bars and wellness facilities. Inspirational, fun workplaces, which promote health and well-being among users, are in demand. This has a direct effect on job satisfaction and engenders pride in employees as well.