Trends in the modern working world

by Darren
Orgatec Jnl 4 15

An annual event reveals some insightful trends that will affect the office environment and the working world, which could benefit the SA flooring industry.

The words “trend” and “office” may be an unusual combination within any given sentence; however, last year’s ORGATEC event in Cologne placed the spotlight on these exact concepts, setting the stage for some exciting developments in office spaces.

ORGATEC’s array of events provided different opportunities to industry visitors to discuss current trends, take a closer look at complex issues and exchange ideas on an international level. Discussion topics on these trends included demographic change in the office, change management and ‘gamification’. At ORGATEC’s gamification day, companies demonstrated how employee commitment can be improved by implementing playful elements.

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Gamification is defined as “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service”.

1.    Smart office materials
At the “Innovation of Interior” competence centre in Hall 8, the special exhibition “IOI – Smart Office Materials” presented the latest developments and trends, attracting architects, planners, equippers and fitters looking for something special. This event put the spotlight on materials for the working worlds of tomorrow with a focus on the sustainability of products.

“Smart office materials are made out of biological resources, are conducive to health and are produced out of other waste materials,” explains Dr. Sascha Peters, Organiser of the exhibition and owner of Haute Innovation – a Berlin-based materials and technology agency. “Lightweight construction solutions are becoming more important for mobile working, as are multi-functional and smart materials, with hidden extra functionality or benefits.”

A critical factor here is Green design of sustainable floors, especially as these are installed for a long period of time and are fixed office materials that cannot be changed on a daily basis.

2.    Spatial and mobile competence
ORGATEC’s Spaces 2014 – Connecting People combines lighting, flooring and acoustics for a wide-ranging exhibition on spatial concepts. “ORGATEC Space” is a joint project between interior designer Sylvia Leydecker and acoustician Dr. Christian Nocke.

Mobile, the second competence centre, is all about mobility and technology in the modern working environment. In this context the term ‘mobility’ not only refers to working outside the concept of the traditional office, but also flexibility regarding the actual place of work. The focus here lies on fitting products and concepts, from software modules and portable terminals through to traditional solutions for working on the go.

Technological advancements in flooring add to this trend, as competence with regard to mobility as a result of selecting the correct floor type, and the creation of a feeling of space in an office, can also be successfully achieved before installing a floor, especially if all these needs/trends are taken into consideration during the planning and specification phases.

3.    Out of office
The ORGATEC Boulevard brings work, communication and relaxation together and offered industry visitors creative suggestions. The Boulevard presentation is intended to convey the concepts of The Home Office, The driverless mobile office, Socialising and Movement with a focus on relaxation. Various elements can add to a sense of relaxation – even the selection of certain floor types, especially the look and feel of floors that enhance these sensations or experiences.

4.    Smart working in smart buildings
The ORGATEC Night of Office and Architecture saw a total of 20 offices and facilities throughout the city of Cologne open their doors to provide exclusive insights into the world of work in the future, unveiling surprising design ideas and innovative solutions. The various companies and their buildings were organised into three categories: New Office Concepts & Trends in Architecture; Mobile Working; and Revitalisation and Refurbishment of Existing Buildings.

This is an excellent idea and could be an innovative approach that the flooring industry could consider implementing themselves by encouraging office buildings that have made use of their services on unique flooring projects to open their doors to both industry and the public on a specific day and a specific time. This could inspire new ideas and trends that are both practical and achievable.

5.    Actioning the demands of sustainable needs
The focal point here is to align sustainability with everyday office behaviour. The goal is to practise sustainability in the workplace, know what this means and requires, and how companies can adjust and equip their offices in a more sustainable manner. To read more on sustainability and Green design be sure to read our feature article in this issue on page . . .

International annual events such as ORGATEC offer unique insights that enable FLOORS in Africa magazine to share, identify and highlight trends that can most certainly benefit the SA flooring industry.

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