We can’t escape the niggling feeling that our offices aren’t all that we’d hoped they’d be by 2019. The hollow promise that the internet would liberate us from desks to work feet up, cocktail in hand on a distant sandy shore was perhaps, in retrospect, a stretch. But what’s worse is that a swathe of data-driven consultants and over-excited architects have prompted the rise of all manner of sinister, sensors-on-seat-style solutions to the perceived problem of inefficiency.
Monocle has a different and altogether sunnier take on what a well-run workplace should look like – and we’ve pinned up some metaphorical Post-it notes here with suggestions for reintroducing some humanity into humdrum offices. Our ideal workplace would provide modest spaces for staff to share a meal while enjoying each other’s company – but also places for silence, where workers could escape the let-me-tell-you-about-my-app milieu that thrives in open-plan strip-lit offices. Workplaces should be seen as embassies: buildings that reflect your company’s ethos, not second homes bedecked with beanbags or peppered with ping-pong tables.
We’ve even floated ideas for a shorter working week – with the caveat that customer service shouldn’t falter because of it – and a back-to-basics hiring strategy: consider a new department head who is both qualified for the job and agreeable company when quaffing an after-work drink. How about a housekeeper to cook and keep the place spick and span? Crucially, technology isn’t always the solution.
So here are our suggestions for a healthy company culture and happier workforce in 2019. The offices of the future might not resemble the fantasies of the past but follow our advice and that needn’t be a bad thing.