Smart, New, Agile, and Activity-Based: Six Examples of Your Future Office

Is your office Smart? Is it New? How about Agile? Is it Activity-based? These are all questions that might sound ridiculous at first glance, but upon further review, I think they’ll be the questions everyone should be asking now, and will be asking in the future.

One of the trends I’ve been following is that of office designers using methodologies to design office spaces as opposed to simply making a space look cool or just putting features in a room in an organized fashion. Side note: Sometimes,, I get the feeling that many designers could probably be better known as space planners and interior decorators than an actual office designers.

Some of the terminology I’m seeing more and more of are The New Working, Smart Working, and Activity-Based Working. Another, Agile Working, is more based on employee efficiency that allows workers the ability to complete work when and where they desire – so long as it gets completed on time.

Though I am not an expert on any of them, it does seem like they all seem to overlap in terms of trying to use scarce resources efficiently. I previously discussed how large companies are moving to do just that.

But just being efficient with space doesn’t seem like it can solely be what the future holds for offices. These methods of designing offices aren’t meant to rob employees of the simple things like a desk to call home or privacy, they are meant to empower employees by giving them all of the things they need and taking away the things they don’t.

Let’s take a look at some of these new models in working and office design as they have manifested themselves in these six offices:

Microsoft Netherlands


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Designed by Sevil Peach and Veldhoen + Co., this office space has totally gotten rid of private offices and made everyone an equal. With its array of workspaces, coffee shop, and meeting rooms, this office boasts a 30% reduction in real estate costs, increased productivity, enhanced market reputation and ability to attract and retain top talent, increased employee mobility, and benefits for the environment.



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Designed by PWi, this project was designed to accomodate the merger of Alcatel and Lucent by bringing the combined staff of both companies into one central location. Designed to hold some 450 employees, the office has only 250 workstations. As you can see from the tour, there are also a number of places to work throughout the space that are build for collaborating and time alone.

Unilever Switzerland


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Camenzind Evolution helped Unilever develop a design of the switzerland space that is meant to give ample room for productivity in all forms; small and large meetings, individual work, collaborative projects, and teleconferencing. Unilever employs the ideas of agile, where employees can complete work in the best manner that suits them.

Credit Suisse


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Credit Suisse has aimed to implement a non-territorial approach to the workplace, which as we have seen recently, is becoming quite popular across Europe. Designed by Camenzind Evolution, the Zurich office is designed to assist with “smart working”.

WL Gore


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This office was designed by Francis Caufmann and offers employees a variety of workspaces – which allows them to best work within their flexible schedule. Flexible meaning that employees can finish work when and where they want to, just as long as it gets completed.



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Designed in collaboration between Hofman Dujardin Architects and Fokkema&Partners the Eneco headquarters channels The New Working and uses a meeting centre around a central atrium with a coffee bar, meeting facilities, working spots, restaurant and a flexible auditorium to achieve its goals.