From our previous posting on mobility, I asserted that “open communication and collaboration is the new norm as teams move and morph around the idea.” This produces an important development in office design and gives new meaning to the often cliche term of flexibility in the workplace.
When we say “flexibility” in the workplace, we often think of an open floor filled with modular furniture (desks, cabinets, chairs), with some static areas, like pantries, conference rooms, and executive offices. The modular furniture is suppose to be interchangeable and movable while offering aesthetic uniformity.
If you’ve ever worked at a corporate office, we all know “flexible furniture” is never flexible. Desk configurations stay the same, and it’s the people and their accumulated things that move. Assembling a new project team? Move the necessary people to the same corner for a few months. It’s perennial relocation like refugees because it always sucks to be displaced and separated from the former team and community.
The Nomad versus The Refugee.
I argue that mobility re-imagines the workplace as a pasture of ideas. The individual becomes the nomad as he or she moves and congregates around idea to idea. Space is morphing as organically as the idea. We will finally challenge true flexibility in the workplace when the new working nomads seek places that encourage seamless cross-pollination of ideas, or find inspirations from incidental intersections between diverse activities.
As architecture searches for the new “creative space,” the new nomads will undoubtedly wonder how mobility and flexibility will change their relationship with the company? Will personality now emerge into building blocks of a company over brand identity of an organization?
In the next post, we will explore why I feel the individual personality will come to overturn corporate identity and the workplace architecture.