Looking back into history towards the workplace of the future


One of the most common challenges businesses face is looking at innovative ways in which to improve speed, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as health and happiness in the workplace. An interesting way in which to tackle these challenges can be by looking back at some examples of how the predicted technology of the past has evolved for businesses nowadays.

Where can we draw inspiration when looking towards the future workplace?

Our imaginations are constantly fuelled by visuals, whether it be through images, video or other forms. One of the latest for the commercial property industry being VR tours, providing effective visualisations to help property managers to visualise the potential for future workspaces. Virtual reality has been a concept however for many years now, often accentuated in movies through the use of VR headsets.

Movies, particularly of the science fiction genre can really help to boost our creative imaginations. Hot off the press at present is the recent launch of Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to the original film from 1982. Back in the 80s, the depiction of 2019 was that the world would have flying cars, humanoid artificial intelligence and the ability for us all to make video calls. With numerous options available nowadays for video calling through Skype, GoToMeeting, Facetime, Facebook and WhatsApp (to name a few of these options), one out of three isn’t bad foresight from a movie made so long ago.

Flying car from the 1982 movie Blade Runner, taking off in 2019. Watch this space!

What can we learn from looking back to the future?

There is no news yet of flying cars to take us to and from work, although Google are developing self-driving cars. Imagine how much extra work we could get done while not being pre-occupied by driving! Thankfully for many, the frightening prospect of humanoids isn’t on the horizon, however the technology behind artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly developing at speed.  Some interesting examples highlighted below are just a couple of the latest technologies now being incorporated into the workplace.


Artificial intelligence (AI) – machine learning


Virtual reality

  • Woodhouse use this technology for clients. Here is one example showcasing one floor of Ashton House in Milton Keynes (no headset required)

How much emphasis should we place around thinking of the future workplace?

Within the commercial property sector, there has been a surge in new technologies adopted over recent years, not just within our clients’ office spaces, but also for use on our projects. One such piece of equipment, the remote controlled ‘Brokk machines’ were used in the Cat A fit out at Ashton House, as showcased within the video below:

Thinking of the future workplace isn’t just thinking about cutting edge office design, but an effective, functional workplace where the impact of having a new workspace with modern technology integrated serves to increase staff retention, improved speed and productivity as well as staff morale.

The whole workplace design process requires a lot of thought and is data led, therefore more scientific. This is one of the key traits behind our own ‘Smarter Workspace’ approach for our clients, digging deeper into an organisations culture to understand how the impact of our work will benefit our client. It is always nice to see such factors having a positive effect. One recent example was through our client Ruffer being listed as one of the healthiest places to work, one of only a select few UK organisations to achieve recognition. We are proud to have had a large part in transforming their workspace for them!


Kitchen and breakout area at Ruffer

Just as many movies from the 80s and 90s in particular have already showcased where predicted future tech is now coming of age, the workplace design industry isn’t too dissimilar. The ever-evolving workplace requires firms such as our own to always stay abreast of current trends workplace trends, but of equal importance, to anticipate the future demands of our clients.

Are you looking to revolutionise your workplace? Get in contact to discuss your requirements.