Most workplaces are designed and built as if the needs and requirements brief developed for the initial design and construction won't change much over time. We interview the users, put together snapshot of user needs at that moment in time, design to that snapshot, and then build to the design.
But for the last 15+ years, we've known that this process results in lots of change orders because what the organization needs by the time they are moving in is not what they needed when the process started. As organizations could no longer manage to 10 and 25 year plans, they could no longer predict with any accuracy what their workplace needs would be even a year or two down the road.
At Epicycled, we began to as early as 2012 that change was increasingly rapid and unpredictable. Initially in the tech sector, but soon enough across all sectors and industries.
Fast forward to 2023. The Covid-19 pandemic. Remote work. Workers mandated back to the office, leadership changing their minds again. Bill Gates believes another pandemic is coming and that we are not prepared.
And what about artificial intelligence (AI)? Is the Metaverse a thing or not? Political divisiveness in places like Florida. Disney not building a new office campus in Florida. Climate change.
We know that buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. That doesn't include what's inside the buildings - tenant improvement construction and demolition, furniture, furnishings and technology, consumables - or the emissions from people commuting to the office.
A circular workplace envisions the design of tenant occupied spaces as a living system. This concept envisions a "kit-of-parts" that can be reconfigured over and over again for new and emerging user needs without investing more money and carbon every time those needs change.
It's called the circular economy for a reason. Yes, a circular workplace is more environmentally-friendly and human-centered than a traditionally designed and built-out office space. But importantly, a circular workplace can also be more profitable and/or less costly depending on what side of the table you are seated at.