As we say goodbye to 2016, and look forward to 2017, Workspaces breaks down 5 ways that the office is changing in 2017.

All offices will get smarter

Smart offices aren’t limited to new builds anymore. Even brick and beam buildings are getting better with the use of apps from a start-ups and tech companies. Meeting room booking is one of the first aspects of the smart office that we are seeing implemented at offices of all sizes.

These types of space management tools also set the stage for controls for everything from lighting to calendar invites. Furniture and technology are also coming together to help better support mobility in the workplace. From wireless charging at locations like TD to the ability to connect wireless to any screen in an office at Deloitte, the workplace is becoming smarter to reflect the real ways that people work.

Office wellness is going to be everywhere


Whether it is WELL or the new CDC Fitwel certification, or just better ergonomics and considerations for natural light, wellness is changing the workplace. The WELL Building Standard has already been tested and the organization has tied up with huge partners.

Parent organization Delos has created global partnerships with HOK and real estate brokerage CBRE or example. CBRE is in the process of rolling out WELL certified spaces at all of their North American locations.

Fitwel, which launches in 2017 has already announced a partnership with Perkins and Will that will be obtaining the certification for all of it’s own US locations. WELL accreditation is available here and you can learn more about what the standard means for commercial interiors here.

Acoustics and privacy won’t be an afterthought  


With the rise of the open office over this decade – offices are slowly moving back to the fundamentals of office productivity that cubicles provided. This doesn’t mean that open offices are going anywhere, but it does mean that the fundamentals of productivity in the office can’t be overlooked. The resurgence of privacy and acoustics in the workplace have manifested themselves in many ways. From the ability to provide workers with choice that matches their work preferences and also adopting the idea of different task based work spaces.

Change management will become a necessity

Organizations are finding that the step changes in the way that organizations and people are now required to work require change management. It involves walking employees through the types of workplace changes that will be affecting them, and also involving employees in the changes.

Getting feedback and being able to show employees how a changing workplace can benefit them has huge benefits. As we discussed earlier this year, one of the keys is getting employees engaged early and often.

Workplaces as a competitive advantage


Business problems now require multi-disciplinary teams to address complex problems in a global context. At the same time organizations are searching and fighting for the next generation of leaders. This occurs as real estate footprints/employee are decreasing and systems like hot-desking become commonplace. It provides the perfect opportunity to position workplaces different while undergoing the transition.

It also sends a strong message when there is buy-in from leadership and they make moves like eliminating their own office spaces for features that everyone can benefit from. It’ s not just happening at tech or media firms either, everyone from lawyers to banks are embracing change and finding a way to leverage their workplace as a benefit- whether through embedding brand or supporting culture.

All images picture Aviva’s new Digital Garage designed by figure3 (Photographer: Steve Tsai Photography) See more images and Aviva’s newly renovated space by figure3 here.