Cubed: The Two Futures of the Office
The huge debate that took place in 2013 when Yahoo! ended its flexible work policy suggests that office workers have strong conceptions of how a workplace should be structured. My presentation, drawn from my book CUBED: The Secret History of the Office, will address the future of the office in light of two related shifts: the rapid increase in freelancers, and the increasing preference of office workers to determine how and where they work. I’ve traveled all over the world to see the changes of the office in action, from Bangalore to Amsterdam. I’ve spent time with the great furniture manufacturers, Herman Miller and Steelcase, in Grand Rapids. Companies are seeing space as a liability, resulting in an office landscape that’s much more open to change and fluidity. In offices like Microsoft Amsterdam, workers have no fixed workspace and no fixed hours: total autonomy. In short, my presentation will make sense of this controlled chaos for entrepreneurs, office workers, and communities.
Additional Supporting Materials
- What are offices going to look like in the future?
- What kind of new research is fueling office design?
- Studies show repeatedly that space allotted per worker is decreasing, and that the number of mobile workers is increasing. Fewer and fewer people have private offices, and in general there’s a trend towards decreased status privileges that accrue from higher positions. How is the nature of work changing to fit the new office?
- In recent years, the number of knowledge workers has continued to grow, as creative industries have burgeoned and new technological requirements for business have appeared. Yet the enormous parks and headquarters of Cupertino and Mountain View so often covered in the press are misleading. The actual office space being deployed for these workers is decreasing, and the nature of the space is changing. What are the expectations of knowledge workers in the new world of flexible work environments?
- Drive around Princeton or Northern Virginia, and you see mile after mile of empty office parks. How can business owners and office workers help their communities adapt?
- Nikil Saval N+1
Joseph Gallagher Doubleday
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