Chill-out in the office

We all need a change now and Zen...

We all need a change now and Zen...

Recreational areas, Zen bars and invisible technology are the growing trends in modern office design. The Times and technology outfit Gestetner give out awards every year to the most innovative office designs in the UK. This year, a shortlist of 100 examples were chosen which fulfilled the judges' criteria of being visually exciting and inspirational places in which to work. They were showcased this week at the Royal College of Art in London. Cellular Operations, a Swindon-based call centre, and Ocubis, a serviced office space, were two of the ten companies to win an award for design excellence. The characteristics that the winning firms demonstrated were a strong emphasis on recreational areas that are supposed to encourage social interaction and creativity. Nigel Palmer, managing director of Gestetner, argued that hiding technology improves productivity. "Whilst [office workers] want to make use of technology, they don't want to see it, they just want it to be done instantly." Far from seeing the demise of the office environment as teleworking becomes more viable, Jeremy Myerson, director for the Helen Hamlyn research centre at the Royal College of Art, claimed Zen bars and pool tables will become an integral part of a new 'working/social' culture. He said: "Offices are going to become more important and technology is going to be an important part of that," he said. To check out the designs, click on the video link above...