Photo: Frédéric Baron-Morin

MoreySmith, one of Europe’s leading design & architecture practices, has unveiled a Workplace Futures Report in partnership with The Future Laboratory.

The London-based firm commissioned the report to better understand the psychology of the future workforce and to emphasise the importance of workplace design to employers.

The future-gazing study examines the psychology of the workforce in 2025, and the shift in demographics, that will make conscientious workplace design a necessity for employers.

Linda Morey-Burrows, founder and principal director of MoreySmith believes design-led offices should no longer be considered a ‘nice to have’, but are imperative to retain and attract talent, ensure efficient working and, ultimately, add to the success of a business. Workplaces should be designed with people’s happiness in mind, which improves the overall success of the workforce.

The Workplace Futures Report predicts that ‘Open Work’ spaces of 2025 will be multidimensional, multigenerational and interactive, where three archetypes of Sentient, Hospitality and Flat Age workspaces are positively amalgamated.

The Sentient Workplace

With people working harder and longer hours, the boundaries between work and social life are becoming increasingly blurred. As a result, workers are choosing working environments that support their pursuit for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as offsetting the demands of their always-on lifestyles.

In line with this demand for wellness in the workplace (estimated to be worth £32.2bn according to the Global Wellness Institute), MoreySmith’s report predicts that by 2025, the workplace will be an intuitive, human-oriented environment: ‘The Sentient Workplace’.

By the late 2020s, offices of the future will be designed and built to incorporate thousands of sensors, that will interact with workers’ wearable devices and smartphones. Artificially Intelligent desks, wearables and apps will allow workers to log and measure their daily working output against their surrounding environment, while giving employers essential insight into ways to enrich the workspace.

These smart systems will talk to one another, relaying everything from employee stress, energy and hydration levels to seating and lighting preferences, creating a personalised working environment at each stage of the day.

Additionally, 2020 workers will not be required to check in, as reception desks will be obsolete. Their wearable device will sign them into the building, and the building itself will respond by preparing their workspace in line with their lighting, humidity and temperature preferences, and the resources and data they need for maximum productivity will be on screen, at their desk, awaiting their arrival.

In addition, with women now accounting for 46.4% of the UK workforce, according to The World Bank, the Sentient Workspace, aware of its occupants, will be increasingly perceptive to women’s wellbeing needs.

Hospitality Workspace

In the future, younger generations will no longer be tied by financial burdens – renting or owning a home will be a past concern. Instead, they will value life experience, freedom and adaptability of lifestyle. Inevitably, this demands a work culture of ‘anywhere, anytime, in any way’.

As a result, Hospitality Workspace will be a one-stop urban flagship destination for the multi-generational workforce; a place where work, play and rest are combined under one roof, forming convenient destinations and innovative communities that will attract the globalised, footloose workforce of the late 2020s.

This Open Work space will be part hotel, part gym and part café, a development from the comfortable ambience of today’s co-working spaces. Company-owned office space will be positioned alongside collaborative start-up incubators in this future flagship setting, with mixed-use floors where the 5G workforce can socialise or sleep, complemented by public facilities such as galleries, gyms and health centres.

To build homes for its workers, future Hospitality Workspaces will feature modular formats for convenience and adaptability. Easy to augment, resident workers will immerse themselves in the sharing economy ethos of the Hospitality Workplace, using convivial communal third spaces such as kitchens and games areas to integrate with their colleagues and inspire greater camaraderie.

This will make the work/life balance easier and more rewarding for staff by providing attractive wellbeing amenities such as freshwater swimming pools, wildflower gardens, allotments and resident chefs.

In 2025, Hospitality Workspaces will inspire greater productivity and happier, cohesive teams that work and play together, bonding in an otherwise atomised future working world.

Flat Age Workspaces: Age-agnostic & the 5G Workforce

The comprehensive study reveals that, by the late 2020s, demographics in the workplace will dramatically shift, with five generations working collaboratively.  The Five Generation (5G) workforce will see the digitally-native Generation I, inventive Gen Z workers, socially-conscious Millennials, reliable Gen Xers, and a diligent cohort of Baby Boomers working alongside one another.

With recent statistics from the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasting a further 600,000 people in work by 2022, the report finds that employers will need to become ‘age-agnostic’, responding with inspiring offices that are designed to cater for multi-generations that have very different work ideals, expectations and needs.

In the future, age will be simply a number rather than a definition of mind set and aspirations. Baby Boomer and Gen X workers will be fitter, healthier and more mentally alert than previous generations, due to lifestyle changes and medical advances.  As a result, they will share many of the lifestyle expectations and characteristics of their younger Millennial colleagues.

The Workplace Futures report findings suggest that existing workplace environments are predominantly inflexible to the evolving workforce and are often a barrier to lifelong learning exchanges amongst workers.  Traditionally focussed on young, fit men aged between 25 – 40 years, employers do not take gender, culture, ethnicity, generation or neuro-diversity into consideration when it comes to the office environment.

If you are interested in the future of work and office design you may be interested in our Future of Work Summit held in London on the 18th October. Click here for more details.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.