"The ‘open plan’ debate of 2018 failed in most parts to address the fact that no single workplace approach can address all challenges entirely. In fact, a small number of these challenges are diametrically opposed. A dogmatic approach, based on trying to achieve ideological purity, will never work.
In 2019 we shall start to see far greater levels of comfort with approaching workplace design with softer hands—understanding that all workplaces exist in a state of perpetual beta, weaving various workstyles together to meet divergent needs within the organisation. 2019 will be the year of of the hybrid."
Neil Usher, Executive Consultant at Unispace and Workessence
Trend 2: Business drives improvements
"Business—not the workplace—needs to drive performance improvement. Last year, I forecast the uptake in multi-disciplinary thinking as a way of bringing a broader and more valuable array of solutions to the workplace and subsequently, to the contribution made by the workplace to key business outcomes.
For 2019 I see a further development of this same theme. I also wish to express a hope: that we see core business leaders breaking out of their focus on short-term results to think ahead and reinvent the work they do and how that work is best done. This will create a much more fertile environment in which to introduce many other disciplines that have a contribution to offer. They just need to be asked."
Chris Hood, Director at Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA)
Trend 3: Agile solutions
"Economic and political uncertainty will heavily influence business strategies. Expect companies to be wary of long-term commitments to people, places, and things. Contract and project-based work will be favored over employees in all but the most competitive positions. Organizations will favor pay-as-you-go strategies over long-term lease commitments.
Industries laden with legacy technologies will desperately seek holistic solutions to their complex problems. Organizational leaders will push for cross-functional cooperation and solutions."
"‘Tenant Experience’ will become the 2019 phrase of the year. Both with great technology (managing visitors, using your phone to open doors, report issues, booking spaces or ordering food from the cafeteria) and concierge-like service.
The times when an office building landlord wouldn't contact, help and understand the behavior of their tenants (actual people, not companies) are coming to an end. Coworking is driving this trend—the expectations of tenants have been raised, and a better tenant experience is the new name of the game."
"Most of our organizations today truly need workplace transformation to stay competitive. Unfortunately many of the transformations fail to deliver target impact, mostly because we fail to change our leaders’ and employees’ behavior. We can have the most perfectly fit physical and/or digital workplace, but we won’t realize the value of it, unless we change our behavior accordingly.
Culture is the key.
I really believe that this is the year organizations will start investing and focusing more on culture as the enabler for the workplace transformation."
Kati Barklund, Senior Manager, Workplace Strategy, Tenant & Partner
Trend 6: Divergent Creativity/Co-creation
"As we shift away from ‘incremental productivity,’ where it’s about things faster, better, and cheaper, a new model is emerging—divergent creativity. It leverages ideation and co-creation to drive game-changing creations that break through boundaries.
The ‘sage on the stage’ empowered by PowerPoint is replaced with the democratization of meeting where everyone is able to contribute, leading to inclusive ideation and speed to innovation. Often Agile spaces, that’s Agile with a capital ‘A’, are designed to support the Agile Methodology. Agile organizations strive to be dynamic and responsive, hence their space should be as well."