With evolving demographics, new worker expectations, and an influx of freelance and remote staff, the modern workforce has directed recent conversation surrounding office design. As a result, Work Design Magazine suggests that one of the greatest implications of this future employment pool is a shift toward “more specialized space, training and team building areas” in the workplace. In this month’s design news aggregate, we explore the ways in which group-oriented design is gaining momentum.

Design Innovations & Gathering Spaces 

The open office has long been a key factor in collaborative workplaces. Subsequently, innovations and design trends that complement open environments are rising to the forefront. Business Insider explores MIT & Google’s new Transformable Meeting Space, which extends down from the ceiling and fosters privacy for on-the-go workers. Companies are also increasingly incorporating interior glass, Maintaining the open atmosphere while encouraging a quiet retreat for employees when needed.

The plentiful use of open space has also made modern workplaces more versatile. Metropolis Mag azine discusses Brooklyn’s latest design-focused co-working building, A/D/O, in which open areas and reconfigurable settings are ideal for diverse professional and community purposes. Moreover, the bright and airy new Slack East Coast headquarters in New York City offers a common area for company discussions and public gatherings.

 Common areas provide gathering space for both formal and informal meetings.

Shifting Corporate Perspectives

The benefits of communal spaces are influencing corporate philosophies and propelling the shift toward collaborative environments. Biz Journals lists fostering team dynamics in the workplace as one of the top five ways to provide the optimal employee experience. Facility Executive notes that business motivations behind the open office plan include enhanced cross-department communication and spontaneous conversation.

In a Metropolis Magazine moderated-panel discussion on designing a workplace to support the organization’s mission, key industry executives highlight the need to focus on spaces that encourage people to gather. Christopher Budd, managing principal of STUDIOS Architecture, acknowledges a longstanding quest: “How do we make collaboration spaces that look good?” This mindset embodies a growing demand for team-oriented areas that fit seamlessly into an organization’s branding and office aesthetic.

 Designers and clients desire attractive collaborative spaces that foster teamwork.

Future Directions

FMJ explores a recent study suggesting that workplace design is failing knowledge workers, with office noise, bad lighting and lack of access to quiet space negatively impacting employees. These elements are important considerations when creating open environments that cater to creative teamwork.

On Office Magazine proposes that the modern workplace needs to balance process and experience – or “what we do and how we feel.” How does collaboration fit into this equation? Workspaces designed for cooperative efforts benefit workers most when they simultaneously offer a positive, welcoming experience and support productive, efficient practices.