Learning & Development

What does the 21st-century office look like?

There’s something nostalgic about the offices of old seen on shows such as “Mad Men.” These offices boast plenty of comfy conference rooms and large corner offices complete with sophisticated wet bars – they’re classic and refined. This is not to say that offices themselves have entirely changed; in fact, many Silicon Valley tech firms and innovative startups have doubled down on the concept of creating esoteric offices loaded with gyms, expansive kitchens, gaming facilities and other perks. However, what most noticeably has changed in recent years is the full integration of technology, developing distinct company culture and putting an emphasis on collaborative spaces.

“Modern offices provide streamlined tech services for employees.”

Doubling down on tech 
Creating the 21st-century workplace involves way more than swapping typewriters for computers and notepads for tablets. Modern offices are becoming more and more streamlined so everything is available for employees online. Some workplaces implement bring-your​-own-device policies so that employees can have the comfort of a computer with which they’re familiar. True tech-savvy offices likely have interactive boards and advanced conferencing platforms, as well as online professional development tools. In general, contemporary offices are willing to invest in technology so employees can efficiently and effectively connect and collaborate.

More importantly, as noted by U.S. News & World Report,  the 21st-century workplace is accessible from anywhere. While the right office space encourages people to work together, many businesses are increasingly providing opportunities for employees to work from home or from other venues.

Emphasizing teamwork 
Being able to work creatively as part of a team has become an increasingly important aspect of contemporary workplace settings. Furthermore, businesses have started to rely on team assessments, peer evaluations and other methods for identifying their employees’ skills and strengths.

Many innovative companies have made a shift from corner offices to open spaces, as well as redesigning common areas and conference rooms to be more aesthetically appealing. The reason for this shift in design is simple – it encourages employees to collaborate. For example, when looking over Business Insider’s list of 15 coolest offices in tech, it’s easy to see that while many of the desk setups are mundane, the common areas are whimsical, esoteric and comfortable. With that in mind, employees are naturally drawn to these areas and are encouraged to interact.

Encouraging unique company culture 
Developing a defined and long-lasting company culture is a major challenge for any organization. However, in the long run, a positive work environment can encourage employee productivity and retention. According to Fortune, Twitter built a strong employee culture with gym facilities, fitness and yoga classes, prepared meals and snacks at an all-inclusive cafeteria, bi-monthly tea times and a giant rooftop deck complete with synthetic grass. Tech companies are generally well-known for this type of setup, but it’s becoming more common for businesses to provide perks that give employees more balance between work and home. By creating environments in which employees can enjoy certain living amenities and accomplish personal goals, companies can encourage increased productivity and more office engagement.

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