Future State: Place

How will the workplace evolve in the future?

A woman sitting in an Eames Lounge Chair at MarxModa listening to a man speak.

Last year over 80 designers in 4 cities, including Detroit, were asked to formulate ideas about the future of work. These discussions centered around how work will change in the future and how those changes will affect People, Process, and Place.

Place: After the Office

It’s great to work from anywhere, but anywhere doesn’t always have the best Wi-Fi, or a quiet place to take a phone call, or the tech you need to collaborate with partners across the globe.

A cartoon of a phone booth office with a telephone and computer monitor next to a fire hydrant and a parked car.

Future Staters see a chance to meet the needs of an increasingly distributed workforce with an increasingly distributed workplace. Welcome to the decentralized office. Gone is the master workplace, and in its place is a series of nodes, the ultimate triumph of the network over the hub-and-spoke approach, not to mention the sprawling corporate campus.

One idea that stood out is applying the ‘city bike’ concept to the workplace. Future Staters envision a world where the benefits of being at global HQ can be found anywhere.

Hands arranging sticky notes on a table with ideas written on them.

You’re on the train and have a meeting at 10:00. No problem, just jump off and log in from a nearby Work Pod. Sign in and use the room for an hour and then continue about your day. Say your next meeting needs a TV screen so you can co-present with a virtual team, but even the office outpost is out of the way. There’s a work café your company subscribes to one block over; host the meeting, and you’re off to get to your next appointment across town.

In the future we will be able to work at designated Work Pods and decentralized offices that are more convenient than a corporate campus.

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