The workplace of the future is at Google

Google is a particular business. Adored as much as criticized, it strives to stay at the forefront of all professional fields. And the company sets no limits to stay on top. For example, it employs futurists who roam conference rooms to explain what the world will be like several hundred years from now. With the pandemic, the health crisis and all the upheavals in our working methods, the American firm could not stand idly by. It has just announced the measures introduced to support hybrid work.

As a reminder, hybrid work allows employee to go to the office a few days a week and spend the rest of the time working from home. And it is clear that the announcements made by Google in terms of work organization take us directly into the future.

Empty offices that can be modulated, hybrid meeting rooms with screens, workstations set up outside … Employees, whose return date seems to be looming for September, are likely to be in full view. Zoom on, if not the best, some interesting layout for the implementation of hybrid work.

A movement initiated long before COVID 19

All these new Google ideas come from a study commissioned long before the start of the pandemic. A group of consultants, including sociologists specializing in youth, were asked to come up with proposals that embrace the work habits of Generation Z. People born between 1995 and 2010.

In short, how young people socialize and study.

Modular offices, new generation meeting rooms …

The first novelty is called “Team Pods”. Each module is a blank desk. An office in which chairs, desks, whiteboards and storage units on casters can be set up in various arrangements. All setup can be done and rearranged within hours.

To deal with an expected mix of remote and office workers, the company is also creating a new meeting room called Campfire. A meeting room where in-person participants sit in a circle dotted with large vertical screens that are hard to ignore.

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The screens show people calling by video conference. So that virtual participants are on the same footing as those physically present.

But that’s not all, Google also allows work outdoors.

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Will working outdoors soon be a matter of course?

In a handful of places around the world, Google is building outdoor workspaces. This follows concerns that the coronavirus easily spreads in traditional offices.

At its headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, where the weather is pleasant most of the year, a parking lot and adjoining lawn have been converted to “Camp Charleston”.

It’s a fenced-in mix of grass and the equivalent of four hardwood tennis courts. Allowing workers to get comfortable there. Wi-Fi is obviously accessible from everywhere.

These facilities are available to any employee wishing to spend part of their week in contact with nature.

Needless to say, Google has hit hard on the layouts again to make hybrid work easier. As the company claims its role as a locomotive on the subject and employee wellbeing, one has to wonder if these benefits will flourish in all companies tomorrow. Even if for some countries, especially in northern Europe, working outdoors is not necessarily easy or an option.