In the last decade the workplace environment has been affected by a real revolution, a prelude to the birth of a new generation of office: the "Smart Office".
Just observing this change it’s easy to realize that the working environment has start to transform into a sort of extension of the people who use to spend most of the day into office; this is evolution is an answer to an increasing need for functionality and efficiency, but also for the desire to work in a welcoming, pleasant and stimulating place.
To understand this change it’s necessary to realize that, before the environments, the way of work and the companies themselves have changed; in the recent economic scenario, characterized by new contractual forms and new management approaches, the organizations have become much less hierarchical.
Otherwise in modern context the tasks of the worker are less schematic: working well means being able to better manage resources and time in order to achieve the expected results. Those are the reasons way also workplace must adapt to the new reality in a "smart" logic.
Concretely designing a Smart Office means planning a multi-level action, redefining the meaning of the spaces for the work and the logic with which they are conceived; in this new way companies must consider, for example, the need for personalization, flexibility, multi-functionality, technological integration, acoustics, automation and the establishment of spaces with new purposes (such as wellness and hospitality).
“The definition of the smart office coincided with a process of disengaging from the rigidity of some spatial superstructures: there was no longer the need to be bound to the inflexibility of your work space, with telephone, computer and other equipment, because the possibility of accessing information freely and everywhere has created the conditions for working differently. As a result, environments of a completely different nature have been created, because human beings who are in fact the 'terminals' of the information necessary to work, can find themselves and move everywhere. Smart means intelligent, and therefore it is a concept linked to flexibility, the ability to respond efficiently to the various and multiform needs of human beings ".
Antonio Gioli, GBPA Architects
In architectural terms the offices are slowly transforming: from the old standard - which provided a clear distinction between operational areas with cubicle desks, oversized meeting rooms and opulent executive offices – forerunners companies have move to a more "democratic" system, where areas with functions are placed side by side in open spaces jagged with acoustic partitions.
Another recurring aspect in the transition to the smart office is the desk sharing practice: with the aim of reducing costs and square meters used, many companies choose to abandon the practice of assigning a personal desk; every day employees arrive at work, retrieve the laptop from their locker and head to one of the environments dedicated to the activities that they will have to face during the day, sitting in the position most suited to the task to be performed.
One of the strengths of desk sharing is the greater flexibility for employees to choose their location. In this perspective the desks are not dedicated to a single person, full of paperwork and personal items. Instead, sharing encourages collaboration by breaking down barriers. Moreover, without a work space dedicated to individuals, employees have the freedom to move choosing where and how to work.
For too long, the office has been a place people have to go to. But with the advent of new mobile working technologies that let many people do their jobs from anywhere, this is no longer the case. Office should be considered as a touch point, an open place where workers have the chance to recharge, meet or concentrate.
In conclusion it's time to revisit what an office space should be, and transform it into a place where people want to go to, because it's where they can be most creative and productive.
READ MORE: A NEW ERA FOR OFFICES