Most people are familiar with the harshly lit, melamine desk riddled offices of old that have become synonymous with ‘little grey men’ trapped in little grey boxes… Fortunately, designers are now delving into the mindset of the modern businessperson and developing work spaces like nothing you’ve seen before. These cool, calm and collected environments utilisethe latest trends in virtual office spaces and create the best of home and office in a connected and creative way.

A few years ago this type environment wouldn’t have been possible but the advent of mobile technologies such as lightweight laptops, tablets and smartphones has allowed the modern businessperson to be highly mobile and accessible, while working from a single location.

The importance of the look, feel and design of modern work environments has been given further credence by a recent report by research house www.Knoll.com which highlights the key trends that are driving this approach. FYI: it’s no co-incidence that they’re all evident at our SLOW in the City!

  • RELAX – Modern virtual offices are a relaxed space that is attractive to be in – one that supports casual collaboration, mentoring and learning – a real ‘quality of life’ location. They also offer a myriad of things to do during breaks and after work such as restaurants, bars and shops – think downtown Sandton.
  • ACCESSIBILITY – Who enjoys sitting in the traffic for hours and chewing up a tankful of exorbitantly priced petrol while you’re about it? Virtual office venues facilitate staying connected to business and/or clients’ needs via in-house meeting facilities or remotely, via a Skype connection using complimentary Wi-Fi. The point is that unlike before where you’d spend hours driving to and from meetings, now your work comes to you!
  • INDIVIDUAL & GROUP WORK – Modern work spaces create a balance between privacy to conduct individual work and the desire to have spaces that encourage and facilitate learning, mentoring and knowledge sharing with co-workers.
  • PERSONALITY – ‘All work and no play’ just doesn’t cut it anymore. The physical work space should be visually attractive furnished with quality furniture leading to a very pleasing to the eye environment.
  • AMENITIES – Premium food and beverage options e.g. a wine room, chill spaces lit specifically for light (inspirational) or dark (calming introspections) brainstorms, reading/research orientated areas and hot showers in individualised cubicles are just a few of the amenities that are key to the modern work mindset.
  • FUNCTIONALITY – Workspaces also need to be ergonomically sound but always comfortable, with ample storage space and access to windows and natural light.
  • SAFETY – Peace of mind when working is essential to any virtual workspace. The exclusivity of a high end work environment underpinned by a strict entry policy and unobtrusive but real-time security monitoring is a given these days. This means patrons can set up their work station and then ‘step out’ to the bathroom or the coffee bar without feeling overly anxious.

The reality is our time-starved society necessitates that the highly-stressed business person has an office environment that allows them step away from the mad rush yet still be connected and in many cases produce far better work results than they would in a more traditional work space – it’s a new day and a new dawn for better business!