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The Dynamic and Evolving Work Environment

As millennials pour out of college eager to find jobs, commercial real estate costs per square foot rise, and businesses continue to expand in our growing economy, the office design industry continually sees an increase in our ever-changing office environment.

It’s necessary for the open office to continually evolve. There is a consistent need to provide a variety of choice zones to support the various ways – and places – people work today and into the future.

Words such as living room, gaming area, and even bean bag are now a part of our office vocabulary.

What has driven the office environment to change so drastically over the last few years? What does the twenty-first century workplace look like anyway? There are many variables but, let’s focus on the three that I believe have shown the most impact.


  1. Technology.  Expanding capabilities of technology have led to an increase in worker mobility, inevitably influencing the layout/design of today’s office. Technology has a huge influence on how people work, giving us the freedom to work from anywhere. Employees spend less time at their assigned workstations, and more time anywhere else.
  2. Mobility. The ability to choose your environment is empowering and promotes comfort and positivity for the employee. An empowering work environment allows employers to attract and retain talent. The increase in the desire to go mobile or choose your work environment is a driving factor in the shift of allocating space. Flexible workplaces support employees with technology allowing them to work effectively wherever they are.
  3. Activity-based Design. Work is happening everywhere. Traditional workstations have become smaller, freeing up space for innovative collaboration areas, team-building game rooms, or private enclaves for personal space or making phone calls. The concept of assigned vs. unassigned is prevalent. Assigned workstations have become less necessary due to alternate workstation setups including touchdown  spaces or hot-desking, an unassigned desk setup an employee can use for a few hours or the whole day.

Finding creative ways to support the employee while maximizing workspace can be both challenging and inspiring! Whether companies are trying to appeal to the millennial generation, re-brand, or just trying to condense their floor plate through using more efficient ways of working, we continue to see a shift in the design of our offices today and into the future.

21st century EAW collage

Kara L-linkedin

About the Author:

Kara is a project designer at Environments at Work. Her creativity, problem solving ability and expertise allow her to consistently exceed her clients’ expectations. Kara is a valuable member of our design team.

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