Tech Trends of 2016: Lifestyle as Currency

Image © Gensler

Tech companies are growing up. The hackable, playground spaces of yesterday’s start-ups are no longer speaking to the longevity and influence that tech has in our digital world. Beanbags and unpolished spaces are swapped for sophisticated lounge areas and refined whimsy. Tech companies are becoming more sophisticated and savvy when it comes to design, and it’s showing up in the workplace.

The aesthetic of tech is in the personalized details. Our smart devices know exactly what we need, and they conform to our lifestyle – fitness trackers report back to our smart phones, and conductive inks are turning clothing into wearable electronics. Lifestyle and tech are merging, from apps to spaces at work that enhance our life and fit our style. Tech companies are aligning their spaces with these cultural shifts and anticipating the expectations of millennials and gen Z, who by 2025 will not only represent almost 75% of our workforce, according to a Forbes article, The Business of Doing Good: How Millennials are Changing the Corporate Sector, but already see the workplace as an extension of their home life. Tech companies are now embodying lifestyle and its modern day conveniences, moving towards more polished and personalized workspaces that give employees a sense of professional identity to which they can feel connected and comfortable, all while staying true to the identity of the brand.

Moments of discovery in the tech environment are serving as powerful design tools that allow the space to be user-defined. Image © Gensler

Tech companies see the workplace as a physical experience that serves as an extension of brand and culture. A company dictates the brand, but the individuals dictate the culture, and when the two merge, it creates a style that is authentically them. By moving towards designed spaces that are much more purposeful and memorable, tech companies are placing focus on the high caliber of their work and their employees. Moments of discovery in the tech environment are serving as powerful design tools that allow the space to be user-defined. Although there is a move towards sophisticated spaces in tech, companies still have choice – local graffiti art showcased on walls, colors and patterns that speak to their brand – but it’s not chaotic. They’re retaining their youthful energy but recognize that sophisticated design can coexist with that vivacity, and their workplaces are showing us that.

Contributors: Katie Logan, Natalie Engels

Khaing pushes design boundaries to help create a platform for culture and communities to thrive, seeking to balance professionalism and hospitality within the workplace. Passionate about giving back, she is a leader in Gensler’s social responsibility program, gServe, and Director-Elect for the Silicon Valley City Center of the International Interior Design Association, Northern California Chapter. Contact her at [email protected]
Lexi is a marketing specialist in Gensler’s San Jose office and played an integral role in developing and launching the 2016 tech trends project. Contact her at[email protected]