How will offices of the future look like?

The world is constantly changing and always evolving. The workplace, on the other hand, is taking its time to adapt to modern times. Offices continue to employ the same business routine we have become accustomed to for the last 100 years: Monday to Friday, 9-to-5, cubicles, a couple of 15-minute breaks, a 30-minute lunch, and the list goes on. Nothing has really changed, except the investment in new computer equipment and a coffee machine in the break room – it’s too bad there are never enough cups to enjoy.

But the status quo might finally come to a screeching halt. Why? Because there’s a new kid in town: the millennial. Yes, that generation.

For all the flack that this tech-savvy generation gets, millennial professionals are forcing businesses – large and small – to take another look at how they operate and manage their companies. Studies suggest that millennials are more concerned with meaning and a work-life balance than higher incomes and a gold watch upon their retirement. This is bad news for employers who think they can solve the soul-sucking cubicle existence with a fatter paycheque.

Moving forward, management will need to compete for talent by modifying their business practices. Whether it is adopting a flexible work schedule or instituting a more virtual environment, the future of work may dramatically change within the next decade – just in time for the arrival of Generation Z.

Unless private firms want to experience a labour shortage and remain uncompetitive, they will need to adapt and alter their course. And this is indeed a win-win for workers of all ages. What could your typical workplace look like in 2030?

The scourge of the fixed desk fraternity, shared-desk policies where companies operate a first come, first served basis for legitimate desk space has seen numbers double in the past 10 years. Two-Thirds of multinational companies are expected to offer a flexible desk solution by 2020.

Big things have been expected of Virtual Reality technology since the launch of The Lawnmower Man film in 1992, but we have waited a long time to be really amazed. Fast forward to 2025 where businesses are likely to be using telepresence technology to have meetings take place from the comfort of their own office.

The increasing population of the earth, coupled with the rising costs of child care and the need for both parents to work, will see more offices and businesses offer flexible working hours and childcare options – with some even creating an on-site crèche to meet with demand.

Artificial Intelligence is already a main stay in many of your home support lives with Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant helping you decide if an umbrella needs to come to work with you. But by 2030 we can expect AI assistants will be in full control of your work diary to act as office assistants to schedule meetings, book travel and complete administrative tasks.

Thanks to major advancements in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, office buildings are becoming more eco-friendly than ever, with new buildings in London using sensors to adapt to changing weather conditions and occupancy levels in real time.

Offices are starting to welcome the outdoors in by implementing greener offices with plants and trees. This is starting to help persuade office workers to remain in a business if the office is more welcoming and offer natural light and live greenery.

Flexible remote staff working from home is fast becoming a regular trend for business needs, with reports suggesting that remote workers are 13% more productive and take fewer sick days than their office based colleagues. Remote Technology will have a bigger calling in the next few years.

Perhaps not the pipedream that many cost saving companies imagine, offices are expected to be 3D printed in the near future at a fraction of the cost. Augment Manufacturing is fast becoming the must have tech tool for expanding businesses in tight spaces overseas

The advancement of smart phones, watches and other wearable tech for staff has seen increasing levels of higher level communication in the office. Staff being tracked whilst also being checked for health and fitness levels is a fast moving trend in the busy office space.

A growing trend in large scales business environments, the best predictors of productivity were a team’s engagement outside of formal meetings – office designs will increase chance encounters between colleagues to help share ideas and business growth concepts.

The trusty desktop computer long evolved into the laptop and tablet dominated market we see today, but with increasing demand for better performance on a larger scale, technology hardware is changing to offer bespoke support for individual staff team members. Bigger will be better.

With Data Security and GDPR now a part of office chat folklore, the need for upgraded systems will simply increase the levels of data administrators in the floor space, meaning more highly graded systems will be locked down with new security measurements.

Ultimately, many of the administrative functions that take up too much time in an office could be streamlined with smart technology. There are degrees of efficiency when it comes to resource use that we have yet to explore and smart homes could have ready access to the calculations necessary to discover them.

Check out my related post: What will happen to libraries?

Interesting reads:


  1. Ok Boomer (I’m kidding).

    It could be the quarter-life crisis talking but I do find myself thinking, “surely there’s more to life than working and collecting a pay cheque”. Perhaps the millennials are on to something with their talk of meaning and work-life balance.

    Anyway, in your opinion and/or experience, what are the top 3 approaches that would give a company the highest return on investment upon their adoption/implementation? And what are their associated pitfalls (for example, telecommuting appears to be well-accepted in the West but not so in Asia, is the latter’s concerns unfounded or how best can a company address these concerns)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right on Boomer! =)

      Well, I think it’s more about finding what you are good at and what you like doing in terms of work. Then it becomes more fulfilling.

      In terms of adoption, I presume you mean work practices? Well telecommuting will come forth in the future here in Asia as more parents require that flexibility. Next, would have to be gig economy, could we have more part time work? And finally, increased remote teams. All these should provide businesses with the flexibility and make them more adaptable to market conditions.


      • =D

        Thanks for the reply! I find myself quite critical of systems and processes, often thinking that things could be done so much better. I used to be more vocal about these things but toned down after I got a reputation for being a pessimist/negative Nancy. I do believe that there are people and organisations that would value these “contributions”, just not where I’m currently at (?). Or maybe it’s a tight rope that I haven’t quite mastered.

        Oh yes, in terms of work practices.
        I actually attended a conference in Melbourne in 2009 where they offered an on-site childcare area for attendees (the audio and video were streamed to the room so that attendees could check-in on their children and not miss the conference proceedings). I imagine telecommuting and other such practices were in effect even before 2009 and am quite astounded how long it’s taken Asia to adopt.

        Once again, thanks for the insight!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a good idea to offer childcare areas for attendees. Really thoughtful of them. As the workforce changes, we need to have enhancements like this to enable more productive work to be done. Open workspaces are the rage now and I am eagerly watching to see what the changes may be.


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