With the appetite for home working among employees showing no signs of slowing down, you could be forgiven for thinking that your post-COVID workplace is heading for the same fate as the dodo.
But you’d be respectfully mistaken.
While it’s true that many businesses have continued to permit employees the freedom to work from home (at least part of the time) very few have severed ties with the office completely. In fact, statistics show that in London, where commercial real estate comes at a premium, more office space had been leased by the third quarter of 2021 then throughout the whole of 2020.
Learning from 2020
The year 2020 may well be viewed in years to come as a seminal moment in the development of the modern workspace. With the swift, unexpected closure of offices necessitating a rapid change to homeworking for vast swathes of the population, technology, management, and collaboration styles have often been stretched to their limits and beyond.
While some clearly thrive when working from home; others can’t wait to get back to the office and for many employees and employers, the office remains an essential and necessary part of working life.
Just perhaps not in its current form.
The future of your post-COVID workplace
With most offices currently designed around the idea of people being fixed to a desk 5 days a week, perhaps now a more fluid and flexible style is required. Where the home environment excelled particularly in supporting focused work, conversely it was sorely lacking in support for social interaction, hosting clients, collaboration, and informal learning. The perfect post-COVID workplace should combine the best of both worlds.
It’s this desire for meaningful human connectivity, while maintaining the positive aspects of home working, that’s fueling many of the commercial office design trends coming to the fore.
With lack of social connection being a major contributor to stress and depression, staying connected is key to a successful hybrid model. A focus for businesses going forward, therefore, needs to be on bringing people together in intentional ways and creating spaces that employees WANT to return to.
But where to begin with workplace planning?
For staff productivity, engagement, and retention, it is important to get the workplace right. Before rewriting your strategy based on a few general statistics, take the time to unpick what you’ve learnt from YOUR specific homeworking experience- starting with asking the right questions:
How do your staff work throughout the day?
When and how often do they need quiet focus and how do they collaborate?
How will you bring teams together to connect ideas?
Getting to the heart of how they work, what infrastructure they need, and how your workplace can better support them is what will drive a successful workplace strategy. Technology is inevitably going to play a significant part in this. Ensuring scattered teams can connect effectively ‘in the moment’ is fundamental for the success of a hybrid workplace model. Are those hastily adopted tech solutions of the previous year, the best solutions to take you forward?
How we can help you
As workspace experts for over 35 years, we have no doubt that the companies that embrace change, celebrate the liberation, and encourage the empowerment of a new working style, will be those that move ahead of their competition.
To begin your workplace transformation journey, book a free consultation with our design team today.