February 5, 2017
by: Jeanne Meister CONTRIBUTOR
“Everyone knows the legend that innovation starts in a garage, but sooner or later we all grow up and need a place to work.” That’s what IDEO’s Tom Kelley said in his 2001 book, The Art of Innovation, and today it applies to an even greater, and growing, portion of the world’s workforce.
As work becomes more flexible and communication more mobile, the office is turning into an increasingly complex and even abstract concept. As we look to the future, wnexe have to ask: Will the workplace be on-site at our employer’s property, or on-demand at a collaborative space? Or will work simply be a mindset independent of place or time of day?
The answer is all three, and more. The workplace is evolving in a number of ways, many of which would be utterly unrecognizable to the likes of Dilbert and his cubicle-dwelling coworkers. Take for example, Google’s plans for its new London office, to be completed in 2016. The space is one million square feet and will have an open-air swimming pool, an indoor football field, a climbing wall and a roof garden. Googlers can bicycle right into the building’s bike storage room, and use the in-house showers and lockers to clean up before starting their days. And in addition to traditional sitting-desk workspaces, the floor will feature lots of open space to use for networking and collaborating with colleagues. Google considers the new space an extension of the company culture.
For those companies without the budget of Google’s purported $1 billion on hand to use creating the workspace of tomorrow, there are a growing number of more humble ways to re-imagine the workspace. One leader in this movement is LiquidSpace , a real estate marketplace connecting people in search of flexible workspaces with over over 2,000 such spaces across 250 cities. LiquidSpace CEO Mark Gilbreath sees the real estate industry as ripe for disruption, saying, “We know when hard assets sit idle, like cars, companies like ZipCar step in as disrupters. Think about it: each of our businesses has dramatically changed in the last decade, but somehow our offices have stagnated.”
Marriott is certainly not alone. The growing number of companies committed to re-imagining workspace. WorkSocial offer open collaborative co-working spaces, complete with on-site amenities and frequent networking opportunities to inspire collaboration, innovation and creativity.