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Things To Keep In Mind While Designing Corporate Offices - Clive Wilkinson's Point Of View

Have you ever dreamt of attending offices like the ones offered in Silicon Valley? Who wouldn’t want an office with sleeping pods here and there, natural trails, walking tracks, beautiful cafes with free meals, sports areas, multiple gyms and most importantly, private transportation?

Where this trend seems to be picking up pace, especially to promote employee retention, the famous architect Clive Wilkinson thinks otherwise. Wilkinson is mainly known for his work at Googleplex. Although he designed the office of our fantasies, in a recent interview, he indulged in how he does not anymore believe in providing employees with all the necessary comforts in the confinement of their office headquarters.

Where this trend seems to be picking up pace, especially to promote employee retention, the famous architect Clive Wilkinson thinks otherwise. Wilkinson is mainly known for his work at Googleplex. Although he designed the office of our fantasies, in a recent interview, he indulged in how he does not anymore believe in providing employees with all the necessary comforts in the confinement of their office headquarters.

Also Read: Key Factors To Consider While Building A Warehouse

Luxury Leads To Lack Of Independence

In the interview, Wilkinson detailed his belief that luxurious on-site perks make the workers too dependent on the company which can be a ‘dangerous’ scenario. He said,

“This notion that you can provide everything that would support a worker’s life on campus might appear to be extremely generous and supportive but it also has a whole range of potentially negative impacts.”

Unusual workplace amenities such as free meals, nature trails and private transportation services do help to attract and retain talent, but it blurs out the line between work and non-work places. As a result, individuals spend more time tethered to their workplace.

Although this is beneficial for the employers and might make the employees happy, it can lead to quick burnout. He called this new practice of adding luxuries “fundamentally unhealthy.”

Explaining this point of view, He said, “Work-life balance cannot be achieved by spending all your life on a work campus. It’s not real. It’s not really engaging with the world in the way most people do. It also drains the immediate neighborhoods of being able to have a commercial reality.”

Comfort Can Inhibit Creativity

In an attempt to foster creativity, some employers nowadays overly coddle their employees with sleep pods on every floor along with other comforts. Wilkinson explained that creative work doesn’t happen in a condition of luxury. It is human nature; if you have too much luxury or access to amenities such as sleep pods at all times, of course, you would want to go to sleep or squeeze in a power nap every few hours.

Offices Are Not Dead

As the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has crippled the way most offices operated, statistics and data show that remote work will outlast the pandemic.

However, Wilkinson believes that offices are what help to shape talent. They provide the means for people to become successful adults. Hence, the notion that offices are dead is “ridiculous.”

In addition to this, he believes that the pandemic has wiped off the cubicle farm. Since many companies are now operating in a hybrid environment (an amalgamation of remote and office work), offices are underpowered. Nevertheless, it did kill the cubic farm-like placement.

He said,

“Cubicles are like human chicken farms. They have always been bad for anything other than a kind of factory farming kind of approach to the office. Put people in a tiny little footprint because it takes less money than an enclosed office and we can kind of keep an eye on them.”

Outdoor Spaces Are Important

The pandemic has forced people to focus on their health. As a result, Wilkinson says that the one thing he sees in almost all pandemic-era office plans is that companies are investing in outdoor spaces.

The offices being built will strike a balance between work and non-work life. They will be attractive enough to make working from the office enjoyable but not attractive enough to keep employees from going back home.

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