How Tech Companies are Changing the Way We Work

Tech companies are transforming the office experience for all of us. DSP Design Associates explain how tech is setting the pace when it comes to workplace design

Microsoft Office in Mumbai by DSP Designs

Tech companies have been quietly revolutionising the way we work for some time now. “Technology companies have already changed the way people behave in offices beyond their own industry, as a result of email, online search and collaboration tools,” says Bimal Desai, Design Director, DSP Design Associates. “They are doing the same for the physical office space – these new office spaces will also signal how work is likely to evolve.”

And DSP Design Associates should know. They have created inspiring, agile spaces for the likes of Microsoft Corporation in Hyderabad, SAP Labs in Bengaluru and ZS Associates in Pune. It is these projects that saw the Indian design studio win Best in Tech and the People’s Choice Award at Herman Miller’s Liveable Office Award 2017-2018, and no wonder: the studio’s approach to designing workspaces for the tech industry is original and forward-thinking. It delves deep into its clients’ working environments in order to understand daily routines, behavioural patterns and how employees engage with each other.

With such impressive experience under their belt and such a unique outlook, DSP Design Associates were the perfect people to talk to about designing for the tech world. Here, Desai tells us what new directions this industry is taking, and how to futureproof when the landscape is changing so rapidly.

ZS Associates office in Pune by DSP Designs

SAP Labs office in Bangalore by DSP Designs

What does your design process involve? How do you get to grips with what behavioural patterns and daily routines are like at each different organisation?

We have a strong focus on user-centred and data-driven design, empowering users and creating spaces that stimulate and inspire people to the highest levels of performance, collaboration and innovation.

Microsoft Mumbai office by DSP Designs

Before starting the designing process we engage with client stakeholders for visioning exercises, we collect and collate behavioural analyses and employee work patterns. Creative problem solving is a collaborative process we undertake with our clients; by proposing multiple scenarios, we arrive at a design solution which meets the project vision.

How do you make sure each of your projects is distinctive?

Our central idea is that every client has a story and that a work environment is a great vehicle for telling it. We take an approach that integrates research of new workplace trends, strategy and design, with an in-depth understanding about the company, who the people are, what they like to do, etc. This helps us provide a transformational space where individual needs are foremost and match the company’s culture. We’re excited about what’s happening in the design world and thrilled to be a part of setting the agenda. Our strength lies in designing Creative Communities that personify a client’s social, cultural and functional needs, in addition to providing highly sustainable and flexible platforms.

What are some of the common needs you’re seeing amongst your tech clients?

The big idea championed by this industry is the concept of working in various spaces around an office rather than at a fixed workstation. Other industries have experimented with activity-based working, but tech companies are ahead. Employees may still have an assigned desk but they are not expected to be there, and they routinely go to different places to do various tasks. A fluid working environment is meant to allow for more chance encounters, which could spur new ideas and spark unexpected collaborations. Communal areas are meant to be casual and alluring. Elements like biophilia and intelligent spaces powered by the Internet of Things are also gaining in importance, as they directly impact on employee well-being and space efficiency.

ZS Associates Pune office by DSP Designs

How can design influence performance at tech companies?

We’re seeing a trend towards unusual office interiors. These can distinguish companies in the minds of their employees, act as a recruiting tool and also give staff a reason to come into the office rather than work from home.

For companies like Microsoft, such spaces can serve as important daily reminders of culture and purpose. Firms are particularly keen to come up with attractive, productive environments, because of fierce competition within the tech industry for the best engineering and other talent.

Microsoft Mumbai office by DSP Designs

Microsoft Mumbai office by DSP Designs

With tech changing so fast, how do you futureproof the spaces you design?

It is increasingly difficult for companies to predict how their own business needs change in coming years – technology evolves and so do they. It is imperative, then, that the new workplace should be flexible, adaptable, and fit to the purpose.

Microsoft office in Mumbai by DSP Designs

Microsoft office in Hyderabad by DSP Designs

Companies need spaces and furniture that can adapt to changes in team sizes and new equipment. They need spaces and furniture that can easily mutate to match changes in a team’s functional requirements – a configurable office that can be easily adjusted. Consequently, adaptable furniture has become a popular choice for many offices. So futureproofing your design isn’t impossible; it just takes foresight and investments in the right areas.

What are some of the most exciting tech projects you have worked on so far?

Microsoft in Mumbai; ZS Associates in Pune; SAP Labs in Bangalore and Microsoft Hyderabad.

ZS Associates office by DSP Designs

Microsoft office in Hyderbabad by DSP Designs

DSP Design Associates won the People’s Choice Award, as well as Best in Tech at the Herman Miller Liveable Office Award 2017-2018. The biannual award raises awareness of the importance of good workspace design as a tool for companies to achieve their organisational goals. The award recognises and rewards designers and organisations for creating innovative, agile workspaces that support the people working in them.

L to R: Mr. Bimal Desai (Director), Mr. Mehul Shah (Director) & Mr. Yatin Patel (Director) from DSP Designs