Flex Work[Place]: At Home and in the Public
Vama Garrimella + Anjelica Hope Perez
The Future of WorkSTUDIO
Jono Sturt + Clement BlanchetADVISOR
This thesis began with an interest in exploring alternate ways of working enabled by technology and adopted by the growing demographic of millennials shaping the future of work. Aspects such a work- life balance, flexibility, mobility, adaptability and customization valued by this demographic has given rise to an increase in the number of freelancers, remote-workers, gig workers and digital nomads forming a major chunk of the future workforce.
In addition to the new workforce we see an evolution in the profiles of the traditional workforce adopting hybrid work schedules dabbling between working from the conventional office to working remotely from a desired location. The advancement and sophistication of communication technologies have given rise to a new group of urban subjects within the landscape of work addressed as ‘teleworkers’ or ‘remote workers’ allowing for the establishment of a distributed network of workers whether independently or as members of organizations. This reduces the need for the presence of ‘a particular’ physical location in order to build an allegiance to an organization or a business.
With the rise of flexible ways of working we see the evolution of corporate campuses and office headquarters including amenities of leisure and entertainment which transform the workplace into a ‘third place’- a space for work and a space for informal commingling as a means to attract and retain the best talent within their organizations. The new model workplace is thus no longer restricted to a single use but has transformed into a mixed-used environment offering a gradient of formal and informal spaces. Irrespective of communal features offered by todays ‘workplace’ there is an inherent rigidness of the ‘destination’ attached to it due to the need of commuting between ‘the home’ and ‘the workplace’ which is a contradiction to the values of flexibility, customization and adaptability attached to the ‘teleworker’ and also a privatization and duplication of the amenities offered by individual organizations in contrast to the shared economy that we currently reside in.
Through this thesis we are attempting to develop alternate spaces of work that suit the needs of the ‘remote worker’ and embed qualities that are a juxtaposition of domestic and professional settings. The spaces are meant to solve issues arising from having to mandatorily work from the ‘office’ as well as well as issues of social isolation and non-productivity that might occur when one is restricted to working from just their ‘home’. Set in the context of the Saclay University Campus in France that is currently in the process of construction and is an amalgamation of universities, deep-tech companies and research laboratories we aim to create evolved versions of residential and commercial spatial typologies transforming them into live/work/play environments that provide high-end technology as a public utility in order to make alternate ways of working ubiquitous in society. The future workplaces are thus imagined to break-away from the traditional headquarter or campus typology and instead imbricate themselves into distributed networks of public infrastructure extending the canvas of the definition of the ‘workplace’.