Future you, future me… future office?


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Sandy Stephens, Creative Lead

With lifting restrictions, re-entry into a post-pandemic world has been notably less abrupt and more gradual than its onset. Even so, planning is taking place: planning for our future selves. After months of forced introspection and an awakening to what really matters most to us on an individual level internal changes and good habits have become an important part of our lives. The idea of re-emerging into the workplace to show off our new re-evaluated and value grounded self is appealing and begs the question, what settings will the future version of ourselves want to work in, and what aspects of the office we are coming back to will help us maintain the internal changes and good habits we have gained?

With a new combined ‘future we’ re-entering the workplace office environments are greeting us with a deep focus on adapting to change. We know change is good; there are countless examples in history of how change has brought society to new heights which can be explored with our Future Smart concept. Along with embracing change, how can the office support the positive personal transformations we have gone through and embrace the good habits we would like to hold on to? Will the future office value our concept of the future selves we would like to bring into the work environment?

Looking to key factors contributing to our personal transformations can provide insight assuring a welcome transition back into the workplace, embracing the personal changes we have experienced and nurtured. The comforts of home, an important catalyst to the process of our change, is a great place to uncover and understand deeply personal motivations that played a role in sparking the future self we will be taking back our work environments.

Besides gaining back 3 hours of personal time every day from the commute, one of the most significant changes in my life has been a focus on eating healthy home cooked lunches with the temptations from the food court no longer an option. The availability of a kitchen and fresh ingredients from the fridge has steered me to healthier eating habits I am not looking to let go of anytime soon. We have all heard of small studio offices or bespoke tech firms keeping fridges full of healthy foods and snacks for staff on hand, perhaps this is an amenity we will see more widely available in the future office for those who gained healthy eating habits to hold onto.






Home for many presents us with control over our environment and is customized to our individual needs and standards. For some, control of temperature does wonders for peace of mind – for me having the ability to control my nest thermometer at my fingertips on my phone has been a welcome change throughout my workday that will be hard to give up. For others, freedom to work anywhere whether it is in bed, on the couch or at a worksurface with a soft comforting blanket without judgement is a liberating prospect. Perhaps it is here we were able to focus inward to personal growth without the worries of being uncomfortable in our environments 8 hours a day. Does returning to the workplace have to mean working at a hard surface at all moments? Obviously not every person will want the same room temperature or lounge seat, however, understanding the power of having the ability to choose between different temperatures or shift to comfortable settings gives control back at the personal level replicating the freedom to choose that we have at home.

Implementing soft woven fabrics and plush surfaces is a simple way the future office can respond to the human need to seek comfort and control of environment. Offering plush adjacencies with the alluring promise to be able to choose to work somewhere with soft curves and welcoming upholstery recreates the mind space where we discovered our new selves at home. Fabrics with a thick weave, soft touch, and coziness on comfortable furniture are great examples to honor and recreate the home environment where we gained appreciated freedoms during WFH.






Another positive change to my workday discovered through working from home is I am a person who thrives on fewer distractions. My quiet, temperature controlled home for me is the sweet spot to get into deep focus without interruptions by loud conversations and sounds around me. Certainly I do not need to be in deep focus all of the time I am at work, however, when I have a task that requires it the bustle of an open plan office space is not conducive. This has debatably been the most productive change to my workdays and something I would hope can be translated into the new work environment I am coming back to: a quiet space with no distractions where I can complete my heads down focus work. This is a prospect that can be achieved in many ways, a floor or quadrant of the office designated to library-like quiet space or bookable, private focus rooms where the sounds of the office can be shut out.

It is clear we are not walking back into the workplace as the same person when we left. Ideally, the office we return to will be as adaptive to the things we consider personally meaningful as what we found within our home. We do not want to let go of the personal gains we made during WFH. And while a positive transition back to the office will mean different things to different people, the office can value and replicate the human comforts we came accustomed to during our time at home. Whether it is privacy and the ability to focus, the freedom to choose where you work, control of temperature, or proximity to a kitchen and access to healthy fresh food choices – the office recognizing and accommodating our personal growth places value on not returning to old bad habits, allowing us to develop and grow the positive personal changes we are proud of.




SAP AG - Teknion Case Study

Sandy Stephens

Creative Lead


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