Welcome to work 2025

What will our office look like five, 10, even 20 years from now? Will we even have an office to go to?

Where are you right now? In the office, at a desk, in front of a computer? Probably at one of several banks of desks, with a couple of neighbours, if it’s anything like ours. This, the open-plan office, has dominated since the 1950s, when “dissatisfaction with the cubicle model gave way to spaces geared towards open exchanges”, says Peter Firth from trend forecasting agency Future Laboratory. But now the open-plan space is almost as unpopular – air-con wars and debatable musical tastes can make many of us miserable. Technology and a new generation are changing that now, believes Firth. Think of your own desk again – there’s probably a smartphone on it, maybe a tablet in your bag. All of which means you’re constantly connected. To work, yes, but also to your personal life while at work – Facebook, Twitter, personal email. That’s behaviour which will be key in shaping the new office, says Angela Sasso, speaker on the theme of the future office at the London Festival of Architecture and interiors principal at architecture firm Aukett Swanke. “We’re going to be less reliant on desks; people will still be at screens or using devices, but there’ll be more collaborative spaces to use them in.”