Which picture best describes your village?

: Interview with futurologist: "The modern office is becoming a village"

In the future, offices will no longer be places where we only process e-mails and hide behind mountains of files, predicts trend researcher Eike Wenzel in an impulse interview. Instead, offices are designed to encourage creativity and communication.

Mr. Wenzel, we have long been able to work anywhere and anytime. Are offices going to be phased out soon?

Eike Wenzel: The digitization of the world of work is changing the function of offices, but they are not becoming superfluous. In the future there will certainly be even more freelance employees in companies who hardly ever come to headquarters. Most trend researchers agree that there will still be offices in 15 or 20 years. They'll just look different than they do today.

How come?

Rigid individual offices with their own nameplate on the door will probably be a thing of the past. The world of work will become more flexible, and companies can best adapt to this by accommodating the different needs of their employees. Some need islands of calm in order to be able to concentrate on their work, others an exchange. There are a variety of work styles and project requirements that require customized solutions.

The home office ...

... was a huge hype in the 90s. But it never caught on across the board. Instead, it is just one option among many that enables employees to shape their working lives. I think the picture that best describes how we will work tomorrow is the modern office as a village.

As a village?

Yes, this means that the office of the future is not a place where we process emails and hide behind mountains of files, but a place that provides a framework for cooperation in the company. We cook together and talk about the latest projects. There is a marketplace where the best ideas arise. Offices are designed to make all of this easier. This also means that you can relax and unwind.

Do the boundaries between work and leisure continue to blur?

I do not believe that. We're all slowly learning what the constant availability of emails and other information does to us. The fact that there will also be a place in the future that is reserved for work and that you leave again when you no longer work makes it easier to achieve a healthy balance.

Eike Wenzel is the founder of the Institute for Trend and Future Research in Heidelberg. In 2014 his book "#We: How digitization is changing our everyday life."

You can read more about the topic: How to design offices intelligently and thus increase employee motivation, read the current issue of impulse 03/15.

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