Welcome to Chapter Eight of our ‘Design Versus’ series and part two of three of our ‘Office Furniture Market Trends’ mini-series.
Let’s take a look at evolving market trends in the office furniture industry and the right way to react to them. In the previous chapter we emphasized ‘total cost of ownership’ and differentiated it from ‘predicting the future.’ This time around we’re going to stress why we shouldn’t predict the future.
People in every industry and walk of life have made predictions that at the time seemed quite credible, but ended up wrong. I have pulled two quotes from a list with a little over eighty more and you can find hundreds more as well.
To predict with absolutes (i.e. guiding a rocket) is a complex mathematical process where skilled professionals dedicated to that task are enlisted. To predict the future based off of various and sometimes contrasting research is risky. The human factor (psychological, social, socioeconomic, physical and biological characteristics) makes it virtually impossible.
Everyone is trying to predict what the future office landscape will look like. Some people use industry terminology and complicated analysis to sound credible and convince the unsuspecting. Others are doing the right thing: they are using the available research and resources available to them to encourage ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ and improve ‘Return-on-investment.’ By addressing the present efficiently is the only way we can possibly attempt to predict the future.
To reference ‘Contract Magazine’ (which has several articles on the future office) they publish articles specific to the contract furniture market. One of them that jumped out at me was ‘Characteristics of the Future Office’ by Ruth Jansson, CID, IIDA, LEED AP. In her article she spoke of workplace standards as well as the influencers in designing such standards. These standards are adhered to when expanding or reconfiguration. She also touches on speculative spaces, another area of design which supports total cost of ownership.
The obvious is the closest we can come to ‘predicting the future office.’ The rest of the information and statistics are just additional tools in our arsenal.