At Thinkers Co. we have been working on the design of new office spaces for a long time. As it is changing faster and faster every day, we decided to develop an investigation to learn about the new workspaces or, as we call it, the “spaces in transit”. Now, we want to show you the results, so you learn from this case study too.
But first, what are these “spaces in transit”? We defined them as dynamic places that are in a constant movement of people and other vehicles, such as coffee shops, train stations, coworking spaces, airports, among others.
We begin our investigation with a desk research, in which we identify 6 important aspects around these “spaces in transit”:
1. The new “Generation Y” or “Millennials”: are people who move and design their own work method because they do not like to be in offices and prefer to work from their smartphones and digitally. They move by the prestige and innovation of the companies. We estimate that they will represent 75% of the workforce in 2025.
2. Liquid spaces: is the reality created from the temporal things and the transit of people. These are flexible spaces that have been built according to commercial and leisure purposes, where there is a relationship between the person and space because it is associated with an activity to be performed.
3. The new office: are open spaces, designed for socializing and strengthening the bonds inside the offices. The office is mutating towards the concept of “home living room”.
4. Third spaces: is the combination of the warmth of a home with the efficiency of the offices because of the new technologies, which allow us to work from any place and at any time. These also promote the exchange of opinions, productivity and efficient use of space, such as work coffees.
5. V-work: is the virtual work that is executed at any time and with the conditions that the user likes the most. This challenges the idea of ”traditional framed work” to introduce the “Martini work.”
6. Co-living: is the central point between workspaces and living spaces. The main goal is to live in an office.
These aspects allowed us to know how to focus our market research, which means where to look at and who to contact.
Based on this information, we conducted our study to deepen more in what is currently happening to understand how these spaces are in transit, who are the users and what are the new trends of workspaces. To do this, we use a mix of tools such as the Safari technique, Field visits, Photo-Video Ethnography of the different “spaces in transit” and, finally, Interviews.
Therefore, we discovered that there are 5 different users related to the “spaces in transit”: Raul, the businessman; Laura, the hybrid corporate/ consultant; Cristina, the full corporate; Mario, the homemade freelance; and Javier, coworking.
We investigate these user profiles, their characteristics, needs, motivations, and life goals. All this information collected was organized in the Persona and Customer Journey Map tool to have a complete picture of them. Also, we were able to identify their problems or pains that they feel, which means, what they are looking at these workspaces and do not find… In other words, the challenges that exist nowadays.
In conclusion, we discovered that the “spaces in transit” play an important role in all the professionals, whether to work, to meet clients or work teams in a neutral space, to disconnect from long working hours routine or not to feel isolated or suffer distractions as it happens at home. They are looking for comfort, an Internet connection and to be able to talk but not causing too much noise.
The principal “spaces in transit” for the 5 user typologies are:
- Coffee shops: which are used to meet with a client, close a deal or business, disconnect or have a more informal meeting with a partner.
- Coworking spaces: to work from a more economical place, by sharing expenses and different tools like WiFi, meeting rooms and establishing relationships with other coworking people.
The businessman (Raul) and the corporate (Cristina) need a space to disconnect from work or to have a more informal meeting, spaces that cannot be found in a traditional office. Therefore, they usually use coffee shops, where they can disconnect and leave the office environment for a moment. Another option for them would be having a place at the office, specially created to encourage interaction, take a coffee and contact with other employees, like a playroom.
– the corporate
On the other hand, Laura, the hybrid corporate/ consultant uses a mixture of workspaces: an office or an own place to store analog documentation and create strategic maps and also “spaces in transit” such as coffee shops, hotel lobbies, airports or coworking, because they are constantly traveling for the diversity of projects they have.
– the hybrid corporate/ consultant
Although the homemade freelance user (Mario) prefers to work from home, they have needs and problems that can be solved with the “spaces in transit”. First, because he needs to do networking, which allows him to have more business opportunities and socialize. And second, to get closer to their clients and make their meetings more efficient. In those cases, working in a coworking or a coffee shop could be a good option.
In the case of Javier, the coworking user, this is one of the main ones that work in the “spaces in transit”, because this place is their principal area from where they perform their work and establish relationships with other people who work alongside them.
At the end of our research, we define all the challenges that our users need according to their workspaces. In that way, we identify that the hybrid corporate/ consultant user has more opportunities for improvement because they are constantly traveling. We want to share with you some of the design challenges we obtained from this user:
1. How could we make them feel part of every different country and “space in transit” they go to?
2. How could we do portable the analog material or strategic maps that are in their office?
3. How could we generate a workspace where they can feel it is also a place of leisure?
Do you dare to develop any of these challenges?