The Optimism of Transitional Workplace Design
Mohawk Group’s vice president of workplace and retail segments, Mark Oliver, shares an optimistic look at the transitional state of workplace design.
If there is anyone reading this who can honestly say they completely break from work to focus on family and completely break from family to focus on work – I applaud you. The term “work-life balance” was first coined in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was before the wide spread use of cell phones, laptops, email, ipads, wifi, and even the advent of the internet itself.
It was a time when leaving work truly meant leaving work.
Shift to today’s environment where technology advancements enable us to engage in meaningful work whenever and wherever and the ever elusive term “work-life balance” is not as applicable. We are currently in the age of what many are calling “work-life integration.” Or what I like to shorten to just plain “life.”
It’s a time of transition – transitioning the way we use our time and transitioning the way we use spaces.
Technology has allowed us to wholly blend the usage of our time. While we have some distinct locations where we tend to focus on different aspects of our lives, there is no longer a finite separation between our work life and our family life.
The optimist sees this as an opportunity. They are free to use the hours of the day in the way that best suits their unique needs that specific day, hour and minute knowing that they can complete their other tasks when the time is right. In this way, everyone benefits.
Workplace Design today has clearly chosen the optimistic path. New office spaces are being designed with a blend of traditional workplace needs and the comforts of home and even high-end hotels.
Forward thinking workplaces are wildly flexible in facilities and amenities, supporting the associate who may find it best for them to drop off their dry cleaning at work so that running to the cleaners doesn’t interfere with a meeting – or their child’s piano recital. Just as traditional work was once absorbed into what used to be personal time, more traditional personal events are now taking place in the office and workplaces are being designed with this in mind.
Our new Nutopia and Nutopia Matrix collections were designed with in this workplace evolution in mind. The collections enable the designer to transition across the floor plane, creating defined spaces within the built environment but without the hard stops that you have historically seen. Workplaces can use the transitional patterns, inspired by nature, to define everything from quiet areas meant for relaxation to collaborative workspaces, and work zones.
I, too, have chosen the optimistic path. I started writing this short piece Friday while sitting on a couch –in the office – and am finishing it Saturday at my corner office – the corner of the kitchen island at home. That’s life.
Want to learn more about how thoughtful workplace design can positively benefit your company?
Download our whitepaper, Effect of Place on Employee Engagement.
Mark Oliver, Vice President of Workplace and Retail Segments
Using his expertise in identifying product portfolio gaps and finding creative solutions for growth, Mark works with various teams at Mohawk to better understand and react to shifting trends in workplace and retail. Since joining Mohawk in 2010, he has managed the carpet tile, woven and aviation businesses for the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, launching some of the latest innovations and solutions in those businesses. Mark previously held positions in product development and product management at Saks Fifth Avenue, Coach, Reebok and The Home Depot. Whether helping to introduce handbags, hardware or flooring, Mark has worked to bring innovative products to market that have shifted brands’ customer perception and become a foundation, and even a springboard, for growth.