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Technological innovation and improved connectivity continues to support the exponential growth of social media and the ongoing decline of the divide between 'work-life' and 'home-life'. As technology facilitates ‘connection' online our virtual lives occupy a greater proportion of our time as it's simply efficient. Full-time connectivity of the cloud along with increasingly fast data networks facilitate 'work-anywhere' solutions and consequently modern creative workers require new ways of collaborating in new kinds of space to deliver the agility and flexibility demanded by today’s businesses.
A recent report published by Knoll, in partnership with Unwired Ventures, “the workplace net.work" notes that the global trend of allowing employees to choose where to work shows no signs of reversing - "workplace choice is more and more being left to the employee".
It goes on to report "The goal is to support work, and ensure we deliver the best work regardless of the specific location.” Daniel Johnson, Global Director Workplace Innovation at Accenture. "Accenture, client sites, home, or third spaces..."
Today’s ‘office’ thus comprises home, hotel, third space as well as ‘traditional' office space and, in turn, today’s ‘traditional' office space is competing with these other venues. Companies must invest in the office so that workers see it as useful and visit more often, improving engagement and building community. Facilities Managers agree that providing thoughtfully designed “hospitality” such as quality coffee and great technology is not a luxury if the office is to function as a modern business hub. Organisations need more high-quality, adaptable space that caters to a wider variety of workers: local employees, staff from other offices, clients, freelancers, and guests. And as they seek to define this “hub” they are making the office more inviting, not just for meetings and events, but also to foster informal collaboration and knowledge sharing.
"The physical workplace that you provide for your employees is also a chance to communicate what you believe in as an organization to everyone who works there. Your physical environment, the tone of your brand, and how you communicate are your values and culture made manifest” (Gensler). “The workplace net.work” reports, "new paradigms of workplace planning are yielding a richer workforce experience…a new net.work experience is emerging at the intersection of the social network with the physical real estate driven by hospitality demands on traditional facilities".