With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it had posed a few questions in terms of what the new workspaces and interior designs would look like once life resumed in normalcy. While we’ve seen a few innovative work environments come along such as the hybrid work model – firms have had to now adapt to an even more flexible work culture, while also trying to maintain and improve the productivity of its workforce.
With the new briefs that firms are now publishing across to interior designers for their design and build of future workspaces; one needs to look forward at the larger picture of its workforce and with a fresh perspective of design. Considering that the country’s workforce in the next couple of years would mainly consist of the millennial and Gen Z generation, firms have to now also look at retention as well as looking to tap into the local talent and build a growth-focused team rich in functional roles.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Kunal Sharma, Founder and CEO of Flipspaces, shared, “Employees now want to feel safe and secure with regards to the workspaces that they’re currently working at but at the same time also feel that they’re in a more collaborative and open environment which fosters productivity and culture. Both generations spoken about earlier, especially Gen Z are cited to be “Digital Natives” as they were born of speaking and breathing technology. With this exposure they’re more aware and lead their routines with technology. With this knowledge, firms need to ensure that their workspaces are now designed with technology which promotes innovation, collaboration, break-out zones for employees, virtual meetings (Zoom/Google Meets) spaces along with new privacy pods and quiet zones.”
He added, “Acoustics are pivotal in a work environment which also affect productivity, so while designing workspaces it is vital to create smaller rooms with work standard soundproofing. Considering that new age workforces are more aware of topical and sensitive public issues such as climate change, being sustainable in nature – workspaces now need to include these while getting a design brief ready as well.”
According to Vasant Nangia, CEO of Chumbak, Gen Z is looking at their workplace today as an integral part of their overall day. He said, “The pandemic has further reinforced this belief as they are now used to a very different work environment than ever before. So, we need to look at flexible timings and days, and the workplace essentially for teamwork. In design terms, apart from décor itself, it must be designed for teamwork, collaborative meetings, and a place to inspire creative thinking. Unlike standard offices, Gen Z is now looking for more personalization and creative spaces even at work”
Pointing out that a Gen Z-influenced workplace design is an environment where employees feel free to collaborate, experiment and express themselves openly, Uttamaditya, CEO and Founder of U & I Interiors said, “A collaborative environment means less hierarchy and employees feeling empowered to take risks. A culture of experimentation fosters innovation and improved problem solving, as well as leadership development. And an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves fosters creativity as well as team morale. These changes won’t happen overnight, but with foresight and planning ahead you can create a workplace design tailored specifically to meet the needs of Generation Z employees.”
It is no secret that the millennials, the new generation, the Gen Z, the terms used for people influencing a lot of things in the market including the workplace design. Create Design Studio’s Principal Designer Sushant Rawal, said, “Covid-19 came up with a concept of work from home which was earlier unacceptable by the offices and that is also a huge part of how the new generation wants their workplace to be. The nature of working with a beautiful environment which gives good vibes for better productivity and that has new technology is what our generation expects and demands. Execute a co-working space recently, focusing on biophilic office designs, the breakout spaces and play zone for fruitful outcomes, giving that place a pinch of everything with minimalist approach, rather than an oomph to the place.”
He concluded, “The work place is where we spend the most time of our day and it has to be the one that makes you want to stay. One thing that Gen Z looks for is a private as well as social environment altogether, which gives the opportunity to socialize and have their own space when they need it. The flexibility in the workspace contributes to the creative side and breaks the monotonous mood.”