The anatomy of a pan-generational workspace

The anatomy of a pan-generational workspace

Director of Design for The Canvas group, Sapna Khakharia Gohil documents the nuanced transition seen in modern offices.

oday’s workplace finds itself at a unique existential intersection. While veterans of the industry are at the twilight years of their professional days, millennials are rising to positions of leadership, taking the proverbial baton from their predecessors. Further, the influx of Generation-Z, young turks who will helm future organizations, spices the broth even further. Incumbent workforces practise a type of office culture that has been refined over the years, commensurate to technology available, with modes and models of workplaces ergonomically and aesthetically shaped to foster the new culture.

Newer generations, decidedly more tech-savvy, bring with them work cultures and styles shaped by the techno-verse that spawned and nurtured them, and the success of the workplace of the future will be predicated on ensuring a transitional environment that is collaborative, flexible and nurturing in equal capacity. In a nutshell, this evolving culture has resulted in four interesting changes in modern offices.

1. No more one size fits all
Activity based workstations and hot desking facilities allow a user the autonomy to choose where and how one works. This helps them focus and perform in a better manner and achieve productive results. A mix of private and collaborative spaces in lieu of dictating an open plan or hierarchical setup is also preferred. This helps foster work patterns that may differ from user to user, keeping in mind the dictum that every employee is an individual, and encouraging individuality makes a more proactive and motivated employee.

2. Tech Smart
It is imperative now to embrace technology that promotes both productivity and employee well-being. Technologies like circadian lighting, for example, uses light as a medium to create ambient, task specific environments attuned to the perceived state of mind of a workforce based on the time of the day and corresponding energy level.

3. Work and Play
Employee engagement keeps the creative juices flowing - be it gymnasiums, game rooms, circulation spaces within an office converted to jogging/walking tracks, brain gyms that facilitate stimulation of cerebral faculties through activities like reading, puzzles, crosswords and visual and aural content. Exercise chairs, selfie walls, listening booths etc may all play a part in this endeavor. Having some peace of mind helps in better employee engagement.

4. Future Forward
Embracing AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotics as not just inevitable but an essential part of work culture today. Robot ‘buddies’ are slowly permeating workplaces, and help with not just fingertip access to information and tasks, but also provide an invaluable reservoir towards automating/optimizing tasks that may otherwise suffer due to limits in computing power and human error.

It is important to remember that the new age will be one of transition and not an outright tectonic shift. Phasing out the old and embracing the new is a nuanced task than it may appear, and workplace design must take into account human sensibilities that foster a comfortable passing of the torch. At the end, design is a mechanism to birth sensorial experiences, a uniquely human centric trait. Human centric environments, which will differ from workforce to workforce, based on the industry, their legacy and aspirations, are key to achieving design that goes beyond the cosmetic and is enabling, nurturing and meaningful.

About Sapna Khakharia Gohil
Architectural design studio The Canvas stands tall on 15+ years of industry experience of its founding evangelist Sapna Khakharia Gohli. Her penchant for workspace architecture, hotels, F&B, residential and interior design facilitates her understanding of global trend and retrospective influences. She is an advocate for gender inclusivity at the workplace and has pioneered many policies within The Canvas for the betterment of female employees. Additionally, Gohli has been instrumental in making The Canvas, one of the top five companies in India to have an official policy on menstrual leave for its female employees.

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