Tech firms—their products have transformed the ways that we live, work, and interact, and their workplace environments are increasingly doing the same! Driven by fierce competition for the best talent and a belief in the power of disruption, tech firms are leading innovation in workplace design by creating responsive offices that support a flexible lifestyle while reinforcing their company culture and sense of purpose. Through our collaborations with companies like Microsoft, Google, Nintendo, Expensify, and Supercell, ZGF is at the forefront of this evolution in tech workplace design and strategy. The following 10 trends are those that will continue to drive and define the tech workplace of the future.
- For people who spend their days surrounded by and analyzing data, data-driven design has never been more important. From understanding building program and benchmarking metrics to pre- and post-occupancy evaluations and reports, responsive design solutions are critical to tech sector users.
- Advanced technologies enable tech firms to work productively across larger geographies. Many large tech firms are expanding their reach, from the West Coast to the East Coast and internationally. As a result, collaborative spaces should support seamless real-time communication solutions to connect users across the country and globe.
- As once scrappy tech start-ups grow into Fortune 500 companies overnight, executives have a desire to uphold their company’s authenticity, history, and culture. The modern tech workplace must uphold its company’s entrepreneurial spirit, as well as its mission, values, and vision.
- The notions of a nine-to-five job or a one-size-fits-all design are a thing of the past. Advances in technology and digital communication have had a tremendous impact on our need to be plugged in. As a result, workplace environments must provide plug-and-play power solutions and allow employees to personalize workspaces.
- Because inflexible workplace solutions result in costly growing pains, a nimble and flexible workplace environment is critical in accommodating change. This is especially true in the tech sector, where teams must be able to quickly grow or contract in size and rearrange to promote optimized performance.
- In an increasingly complex and demanding world, teamwork is essential. The contribution of a collective group often outweighs the value of a single team member. The most progressive tech companies are finding new ways to promote team health and wellness.
- Dedicated space for focused work, away from the bullpen-buzz, is key to the success of open office environments. These spaces can range from an enclosed phone room to a quiet corner within an on-site café or coffee shop. Tech employees prefer variety and choice in their concentrative work settings.
- In contrast to environments that support work at anytime and from anywhere, it is imperative to provide space for employees to unplug. This is especially true in fast-paced and demanding professions like tech. Places of respite should offer maximized access to daylight, views, and nature, which positively impact human happiness.
- From coffee, tea, and juice bars to full-service cafes and instructional teaching kitchens, tech firms are innovating new ways to provide nourishment to their employees. A growing interest in promoting and encouraging healthy options and choices, both at work and at home, has become the norm.
- A well-established and celebrated brand is an invaluable tool for recruitment, retention, and to foster a greater connection with a firm’s clientele. Tech companies are under increased pressure to foster and embody a professional lifestyle that is appealing to multiple generations.
As tech firms continue to pioneer changes in how we work, live, and interact, these 10 trends will become increasingly pervasive in modern workplace environments of all types, shapes, and sizes.
Kent McCullough is an Associate Partner at ZGF with over 10 years of experience in architectural interior design, workplace strategy, and strategic planning for top tech firms, law firms, professional associations, and higher education institutions. Kent finds daily fulfillment in the opportunity to create responsive and healthy environments that reflect his clients’ unique cultures and missions.