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The Flexing Work Place 23/24

By Megan Hotson, on 23rd February 2023

Hybrid working is the new norm. It is hard to remember what life was like when we had to venture into the office 5 days a week. 

This way of working has afforded us all with greater flexibility, which has permeated other aspects of work life beyond routine. Office design, for example has adapted to reflect the versatility of this approach to working. 

The workplace of tomorrow will intermingle community, with well-being as well as hospitality to incentivise people to spend more time in their offices, building connection with their colleagues. 

As well as this, the workplace will enter the metaverse…


Pragmatic spaces 

Workplaces must create an opportune environment for employees to focus and collaborate while also ensuring they double as a space for employees to take stock, reflect, and take a break. 

Berlin-based ‘Contentful’s’ multifunctional office serves as a great example of this workplace trend in action. A space to work hard, nap, chat and collaborate – all in one? 

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Their office is a mosaic of different work environments. From nap pods inspired by concepts around chromatherapy – to a café providing employees a place to pause, eat, and chat. The main working area has been designed with modular and moveable furnishings meaning employees can build, or dismantle different zones based off their needs. 

We can expect to see offices doubling down on pragmatism to serve the multiple needs we have as humans. To keep pace with this shift, businesses should consider designing a mixture of communal, open-plan areas alongside more private, work-focused pods or booths. 


Meta-Offices

Though still in development, ‘Meta-Offices’ are going to be a reality for a number of businesses sometime soon. 

What currently stands to hinder people from engaging with this iteration of the workplace is the need to own/wear a headset. At present, VR technology means we do not have an entry point which would encourage enough people to participate. 

As Alex Howland, president of Virbela implores: “I don’t think there’s an amount of money you can pay me to be in a VR headset 40 hours a week”.

The metaverse has been credited in making remote working feel less isolating and more integrated, allowing people working from home to connect with colleagues in a more immersive way. 

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Danish architecture studio BIG has designed a virtual office for Vice Media Group called ‘Viceverse’. Located on Decentraland, Viceverse will serve as a virtual innovation lab and workspace in which employees can conduct meetings and collaborate with other colleagues around the world.

Global executive creative director of innovation at Vice Media's creative agency Virtue Futures, described Viceverse is an "experimental playground".




Key Takeaways


-    When designing an office, or workspace pragmatism should be a central consideration. A space that offers employees a chance to un-wind, as well as meet and collaborate will encourage people to be more productive. 

-    The Metaverse is permeating all aspects of human culture. From living, working, and socialising. In the not-so-distant futures you could be working or meeting with colleagues in a virtual world. This could help combat the feelings of loneliness that hybrid working can sometimes foster. 


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