A WELCOMING WORKPLACE FOR A NEW DEMOGRAPHIC
The first important factor to take into consideration is the fact that knowledge workers now drive the success of many modern organisations. Attracting and retaining these talented people is now a priority for most businesses.
Another vital point is the fact that by 2020, nearly half of the adults in the European Union will be aged 50+. Older workers will continue to be in the workplace beyond what we currently perceive as the normal retirement age.
The Welcoming Workplace project aimed to give a voice to this silent group of older workers who, up to now, hadn’t drawn much attention to themselves but would become an important demographic in the workplace.
THE 3 CS.
An effective workplace should allow spaces for concentration, collaboration and contemplation.
SPACES TO CONCENTRATE

When knowledge workers have a task that requires a lot of focus, analysis and attention to detail, a solely open-plan office won’t give them the kind of privacy they need. An office design that includes separate rooms, booths or designated areas for solo working allows staff to get away from the noise and distraction of the general office when they have a particularly demanding task.
These concentration spaces should have different types of adjustable furniture that allow for a range of working positions. Make sure it has plenty of natural light with task lights on desks for lower ambient lighting. Panels, baffles and fabrics can mask distracting noise. New technology, such as intelligent audio-masking systems can monitor background noise and create harmonious sounds instead.
SPACES TO COLLABORATE

While an open plan layout naturally allows for collaboration and chance encounters, offices sometimes lack project spaces where teams can work without having to worry about making a noise or mess. Rather than being anonymous like most meeting rooms this is an adaptable space, giving ownership to the team who are currently using it.
They should be well-equipped with everything you might need, from paper and pens to AV equipment. Bigger backdrops and writable walls will allow people to pin things up and jot down ideas, while moveable furniture and large desks give everyone plenty of room to spread out.
SPACES TO CONTEMPLATE

Offices can be stressful noisy places and contemplation spaces give people somewhere to escape from the normal working environment. A calm, distraction-free place for staff to relax and create new ideas, it should have a different feel to the rest of the office.
However it’s designed, it should be quiet and enclosed with a comfortable domestic feel and a degree of privacy, almost a ‘home’ within the office. With long exposure to computer screens, it’s important to give people somewhere to rest their eyes. You may even use blocking technology so that it’s a Wi-Fi free zone.
While many businesses focus on office design that recognises the needs of the new generations that will be joining the workforce, it’s worth recognising that an older demographic of knowledge workers will make up a large portion of the workplace of the future. In light of this, businesses should consider the role of the 3 Cs; concentration, collaboration and contemplation, when it comes to their next office fit-out.