I write from my desk at the Cirrus Media offices in Chatswood, NSW. I am on the top floor of the building and I sit in one of the many workstations that are scattered around the room in pods. The space is open plan, has various breakout zones and views to Sydney city from certain areas, but I spend the majority of my day looking at my computer and interacting with colleagues via email.
When I do look away from my screen I see grey carpet, speckled-white ceiling tiles and other workstations where colleagues sit hidden behind chest-height partitions typing away, answering phones and mostly minding their own business.
It’s a familiar picture and I must admit that until I read our contributing editor’s feature, Designing a Workplace Future (see page 26) I thought our offices were pretty normal, if not pretty modern. But now I realise, courtesy of Steve Pearse’s enlightenment, that while our offices could be considered normal, they’re far from modern.
To be fair we do have a kitchen, a pool table and a fusball station, but they’re rarely used and certainly don’t aid productivity – they’re more like office props than office tools. Even on the rare occasion that I do interact with a colleague in a breakout space, we generally agree that it’s best we go back to our computers to continue the conversation via email where it will be documented.
It’s hardly a creative or interactive way to work.
Pearse’s feature posits that the workplace of the future will be partly shaped by a change in managerial attitudes from management by sight to management by outcomes. In turn, this will open up a whole new world of possibilities for the designer because the idea is that as long as we’re getting the work done, we can work from anywhere we want. Basically, designers can now design ‘offices’ that the worker wants to work in.
But this is only possible thanks to new technology that allows us to complete our daily tasks from these new spaces and to a level of degree that pleases management.
In the same light, technology is also changing the way we design in other sectors outside of the office space. Our exploration into the changing perception of cross-laminated timber in Australia (page Blah) shows how improvements in CLT technology and supplier offerings could be the catalyst for change in the way we design and build mid-rise buildings in Australia.
The theme of this issue is the future. We want you to question whether or not you’re really designing for the future and we hope to offer you some of the product solutions that will help you get there.
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