Workforce & Workplace
Is there a Future for Traditional Office Space?
Jason Richards
Jason Richards
VP, Energy & Construction Services
Sodexo North America

The nature of business is evolving. Our interconnected, technology-driven world yields new philosophies on how and where work gets done. This flexibility questions the effectiveness of traditional office spaces and presents an opportunity to rethink the work environment.

New workplace strategies are leading redevelopments in office design. Companies are realizing that the traditional office layout needs to be modified to match how people work. Forward-thinking organizations are designing spaces that are not only beautiful and functional, but also incorporate practices that enhance employee well-being.  These aesthetic modifications raise morale and increase productivity which translates to better performance for the organization.

According to “Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work,” Oxford Properties predicts a multi-functional space that accommodates different types of tasks, worker preferences and the nature of the business. Integrating these core drivers into the office of the future can positively impact productivity, creativity, and culture to improve the quality of life.

Bringing an employee centric design to the office starts with understanding the needs of today’s knowledge worker. With open floorplans expanding, more employees are craving spaces for privacy and comfort.  This desire for contemplative spaces was at the forefront of the newest office designs. Smaller scale products that create visual and acoustical cocoons such as curved high back seating and privacy pods answer the challenge of finding quiet space using a reduced real estate footprint. Bringing the appeal of working at home to a corporate setting, more residential and home-like accessories, finishes and fabrics will be integrated into the office of the future.  This is a distinct change from the stark designer white trend of the past five years. With laptops and mobile devices replacing desktop computers, increased access to power and data sources will enable expanded worker mobility. Integrating items with plug and play technology into tables and sofas lets workers change their setting based on task. These new styles give workers a sense of choice and comfort, helping to align a facility with employee performance.

Through extensive research, PSFK Consulting Team observed how “businesses are designing their work environments around the philosophy that play and fun can help inspire their employees to design more innovative ideas, products and services.” There are endless possibilities for companies to make the most of their space while helping enhance the quality of life for employees. From adding vibrant colors to games in the office, companies are exploring various options to stimulate creativity and reduce stress for employees. Highlighting opportunities, PSFK Consulting Team found that companies can incorporate whimsical, yet functional elements into their office as a means of inspiring their employees; encouraging interaction and innovation. An organization’s office space speaks volumes of its values and workplace culture helping a company retain talent and attract new employees.

However, one size does not fit all. Organizations have to align the interests of their employees and values with the overall goals of the business to truly create an office space that promotes efficiency, engagement and productivity.   Work spaces that empower and engage employees will ultimately help the business thrive.


Jason Richards is Vice President, Energy & Construction Services. 



2 comments on “Is there a Future for Traditional Office Space?

  • Avatar
    Valerie Hembling says:

    I think all the proposals in this article are excellent, with a side of caution on the “whimsical”. Offices should not be circuses.
    Sodexo may also be wise to observe the practices of other contenders in the competition for best employer. A relative has described her office at Samsung. All desks are adjustable in height allowing varying sitting & standing positions. There are scheduled yoga classes at noon. Lunches are provided. And I do believe some of the employees do take work & laptop home in the evening. When I recently was told this, I was envious that I do not have these benefits provided.

    However, I have done the next best thing with a home office, purchasing my own equipment and a rec room downstairs with exercise apparatuses.
    Pls accept the above as offered advice for consideration and not criticism. From my experience as a Sodexo employee, I can say most of my supervisors have compensated for the inadequate office settings.

  • Avatar

    I think the traditional office space will always be needed. No matter how technologically advanced we get, human intervention will always be necessary to command or program the automation of processes or systems. Besides, clients will always feel more secure if there is a physical office they can visit to meet up with businesses. Some people find it hard to trust people whom they talk to only via the phone or internet. You can always look up different sites to help you find the best office space for you. is a good place to start. The company provides assistance to different parts of the world.


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