What now for our workplaces?
It’s approaching ten weeks since the UK’s towns, cities and offices were effectively closed. The vast majority of offices remain empty, devoid of the people who normally make them their place of work. A large proportion of those people are still managing to work as technology advances have allowed a relatively seamless transfer to working from home. Will it remain this way?
One thing is certain; we are now in a time of immense change in how we live, travel, work and spend our leisure time due to Covid-19.
The evolution of the workplace
There will definitely be a redefining of our workplaces and how we use them; whether they are in an office building or at home. We are just at the start of the end of the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the world. The daily learnings will continue as we discover how to protect ourselves and each other whilst being productive. The priority must be to keep people safe from the virus and provide them with healthy, productive and inspirational working environments, both now and in the future..
The demand for new office space in our region has paused, rather than disappeared, as organisations try to understand what they will require from their property in the future.
Working from home will be part of our future lives. However, the view of our clients, in-house and industry experts is that there will be a new significant role for the office too. Look back a few months and consider everything that was beneficial about a great workplace; well, those benefits will still apply in the future.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Unlike bears, we are social creatures who want to feel a personal connection to others rather than be in isolation or only see people via a screen (although a few of us might look a bit more bear-like after such a long lockdown!). People have friends at work, not just colleagues and want to be able to see them and chat and not necessarily by needing to log on.
Times of forced change have always created opportunities for innovation and creativity. The Covid-19 era will be no different. Organisations will adapt and flex, as will their cultures and workplaces.
More and more, we are hearing that there will be a flight to quality spaces. Offices will become hubs to connect with colleagues and clients, an expression of brand and a social place. There will a much greater focus on workplace protocols, air quality in the building, how the floors are reached and the availability of bike storage and shower facilities. The need for excellent communication between employers, employees, landlords and all the tenants within a building has never been greater.
One size of workplace didn’t fit all before Covid-19, and it certainly won’t after. An office space should be designed for its people. This is relevant now as organisations begin to think about how to permit some employees to return to the office.
The days of an office filled with rows of desks that offer their occupants little else are thankfully, gone.
Workplaces need to be reset for the times ahead: Now, Next and in the Future
We are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 8 July at 9.30am
As organisations navigate through the various challenges brought about by the pandemic, exciting opportunities will emerge as we explore new possibilities and re-imagine the workplace of the future.
Join our ‘Workplace Reset: Future’ webinar as we explore:
- The energised organisation – designing workplaces where people flourish
- Employee wellbeing – creating positive employee experiences in a distributed world of work
- An elemental approach – fundamentals that will be as important as ever
- A time for experimentation – the human-centred & technology-enabled workplace
If you are interested in hearing our thoughts and those of leading businesses register here.