Investing in people, technology and the workplace for the future has never been so important.
"The office isn’t dead! In February 2019, I wrote an article stating those exact words. I’d never thought we’d be in a pandemic a year on and still be in one whilst writing this article." says Dan Moore CEO of Undiscovered Workplace. Over the last 14-16 months, the office for most has been vacant and, major cities have been ghost towns. Businesses had no choice but to embrace and implement technology into everything they do. 18 months on after a roller coaster for many of us, we’re now seeing an increase of activity back in cities and a return of life back in offices. We believe whilst offices have changed in structure or design, the change in people’s mindsets has had the most impact in driving the office of the future. It hasn't all been plain sailing for people. Some have loved working from home; for others, it has affected their mental health and wellbeing.
Our business helps organisations move and change in the workplace from a relocation point of view. We've been on the front line implementing these furniture changes to the layout of office design. There's been a positive change in leaders' attitude to the workplace and what the purpose of the office is, going forward. Every business regardless of the sectors in which they work have their views on office ergonomics and their workplace strategy. However, one thing will always remain the same 'we're all social animals' which means we all need human interaction and a place to meet, connect, learn and grow. We founded Undiscovered Workplace at the beginning of the pandemic and, one of the biggest challenges we've seen is not being able to connect with new and existing clients in person. Virtual meetings have been great; it's still not the same as meeting someone in person.
There are many statistics and pro’s and con’s shared on social media about working from home and too many to share in this article apart from two which always pop up:
It’s taken a pandemic to realise this………... We’re now transitioning into a hybrid working environment for many, a mixture of homeworking and office working. A couple of negatives when working from home are:
The benefit you can give to your people is choice, allowing them to work when and where. 56% of organisations anticipate they will use more flexible office space. (CBRE Research Client Survey, June 2020 and September 2020) Some corporates are now offering flexible office space closer to people’s homes to give them a local office to work. They can then use the head office location for teamwork, collaboration and learning as required.
There’s always going to be a need for an office, albeit organisations will be able to scale down their office portfolio reflecting hybrid working but not necessarily reducing the footprint of their offices to allow for social distancing ETC. If you are moving or consolidating offices, check out our Guide to a Successful Office Move.
Fast forward 10 years, there not having been a pandemic, we would have seen changes to office space and the way we work anyway. The pandemic has forced businesses to put this in place without a transition period.
Organisations should be reviewing their workplace strategy and their office space to determine some of the following:
To go back to the ways of working before the pandemic would be the worst nightmare for a CEO and the people in the business. Organisations must embrace the change for the future to enable them to grow, retain and attract talent. You’re not trying to re-design the office but to re-purpose the office to suit your business needs, customers, and the people in them.