How Will We Work in 2020? Submit Your Design Ideas

Competition to design the workplace of the future kicks off.

I sit in my worn ergonomic chair, facing my ancient desktop computer with paper all around me, even as I read about the workplace of the future. The transition to new ways of working, as most of us sense, is happening now, and more changes are coming.

Every prediction says that we’ll be working in many different places, with our smart tools, and that our workplace will not resemble the offices today and yesteryear. Smart tech, the cloud, and mobile workers are pushing for unprecedented change.

Furniture manufacturers, in the midst of researching their new markets, have come up with ways to bring people together, though team members may be located around the corner or around the globe. Architects and interior designers are looking to make the newly mobile, collaborative worker more comfortable than your father’s ergonomics ever did. Lounge areas are multiplying. Furniture supports such previously un-work-like postures as stretching out in sunlit rooms. Work often migrates outdoors. Wireless is everywhere.

Some welcome these changes, others are baffled by them; many are a bit apprehensive and anxious about the new ways of work. To get into the conversation, we at Metropolis magazine have decided to join forces with Business Interiors by Staples, who have their own questions about the workplace of the future.

Our inaugural competition calls on design professionals, from all disciplines—those who work as entrepreneurs, freshly mined designers, students and grad students, as well as teams that populate the large global design consultancies. Their ideas will create some thoughtful discussions about what we’d like our workplaces be like in the future.

Of course, all this change has implications for much more than workplace design. Technology and environmental challenges have challenged everything we do, what we build, how we build it, and where we build it. The high-performance office or the mixed-use building that support seamless lives, are familiar to us. In the future, these buildings will include much more advanced features such as innovative materials and developing technologies that will enable workers to perform with greater flexibility of function and provide opportunities for physical movement. Systems thinking designers who can integrate the new ways and means of making buildings as they design their uniquely inventive versions of the workplace of the future will challenge us all to dream a better, and much more inclusive, dream.

Click here for more information and/or to register.

Recent Viewpoints