While this is a puff piece for a line of Steelcase furniture some true facts lie herein. In tech businesses where the workforce is paid a living wage they cut costs elsewhere, but remain tied to past paradigms. Juxtaposing a communal team environment with the need for individual focus and isolation to get things done will probably drive some changes. The most likely outcome I see will be team on site communal days coupled with work at home days - teams will be at the office some days, but working from home (or anywhere) most others.
Innovations in the world of office furniture design have tended to serve one of two purposes. Some are designed to help the corporations who pay for them — open-plan offices are supposed to make workers more collaborative, for example, and cubicles or “hotel” desks help save on real estate costs. Then others are designed to help improve workers’ health — like ergonomically designed office seating, balance ball chairs and the current obsession with standing desks.
Yet increasingly, companies and furniture designers are considering a third purpose: helping workers concentrate and focus in the cavernous, noise-filled open offices that have become practically de rigeur in today’s workplace.
With roughly 70 percent of U.S. workplaces adopting an open-office environment, while in the meantime research piles up on how ineffective and stressful open plans can be, there’s a growing recognition that workers need some sort of refuge to concentrate at work (beyond putting on headphones and hoping for the best).