It’s a slight understatement to say the office as we know it has been completely turned on its head in the last couple of years, especially with many employees working from home for the first time due to the pandemic.
In reality, changes to how we work are always inevitable due to advances in technology and shifts in cultural norms. Some of these changes are subtle, such as switching to email rather than relying on the postal system or fax machine, and others, as we’ve seen in recent times, appear to take everyone by surprise with seismic changes that happen overnight.
However, the question remains, what’s next for the future of working environments? As one of the leading office designers and installers across the UK, we’ve worked with businesses in various industries over the years.
Here’s our take on what’s to come when it comes to maximising your offering as a business by factoring in the future demands of working environments.
Why Do We Need The Office?
Hasn’t this just been a question that’s been on everybody’s lips since the working-from-home model was adapted?
There are undoubtedly lots of benefits from working at home where this is possible. But does that mean the office will be eradicated entirely?
First and foremost, the question should really be: what is an office? It’s a space that is solely dedicated to the company, its employees and any business activity. Without it, employees are dispersed both in a physical sense as well as an emotive one. All of which can make it difficult to create a sense of culture within the company, with communication mostly digital instead of harnessing real human interaction.
The internet has made it possible to connect from anywhere, but are we truly connecting if we don’t ever share the same physical space as the rest of our team? When it comes to tasks such as onboarding new team members, holding important meetings or simply engaging in off-the-cuff idea generation, it’s not always possible to do any of these things from afar without real interaction. Hence, a compromise is needed.
Digital workplaces have managed to get get a balance of these, so take a read through our workplace technology guide to see how these digital spaces is affecting the future of offices.
The Office Of The Future
What if the experience of the last couple of years could shape the future of the office for the better? This is a discussion that’s already ongoing with many companies who have released a balance that needs to be struck between ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees, not to mention job satisfaction, but also maintaining a sense of togetherness within the company.
Here are some of the essential points that need to be considered when it comes to the workplace 3:0 model.
Naturally, a huge consideration for businesses and landlords alike is how their premises will be used if the way in which we work changes long term. One of the key differences going forwards is that physical locations will be used as regional hubs, rather than having lots of independent offices.
In addition, the spaces will be multi-faceted, offering the chance for collaboration with different teams in a much more cohesive way than before. Similarly, hotdesking will also become more popular as team members take it in turns to spend time in the office, rather than having a fixed space in which they work from.
For landlords, properties will need to factor in this sense of flexibility, particularly with floorplans. Businesses are going to want to use the space in as many ways as possible, which could involve having moveable sections in the rooms to accommodate various tasks.
The culture of offices must promote productivity in order to provide a return on investment for the company. However, the reluctance to return to the office is in part due to the negative aspects of working within an office, which the workplace 3:0 model offers a clear opportunity to address.
Well-being must be at the heart of any office culture, as unless employee needs are factored in they cannot thrive. Some of the aspects this may include is access to fresh air and natural light as well as the opportunity for movement to avoid musculoskeletal injuries as a result of sitting all day. Plus, automating tasks wherever possible to keep the work/life balance in check.
In essence, making employees feel happy and valued within the office culture is going to reduce employee turnover and make the office as a concept viable going forward. Otherwise, if the office vs home debate is seen as a restrictive way of working compared with the needs of employees actually being met, it’s just not going to work.
So now is the time for businesses to reflect on what the office culture will look like from now on, based on any of the points that have failed to be addressed in the past. Building back the office model to be stronger and more resilient is an opportunity that cannot be missed.
The focus of the workplace 3:0 model isn’t just on employees or productivity, but also on the responsibility businesses have to minimise their impact on the environment. Whereas before sustainability was a ‘nice to have’ moment, now it’s becoming increasingly essential.
What sustainability will look like for each business is going to be unique to that industry and individual offering. However, some top areas for consideration include reducing the consumption of single-use materials, encouraging recycling, building low carbon offices and using cleaner energy. In addition, looking at where offices are based so that greener transport options can be explored.
Many companies have already started switching to electric vehicle use, and there’s a good chance employee will require electric charging points on the company premises, both for business and personal vehicle use.
Office Design UK
Ready to embrace the future with a new office design? Regardless of the objectives, you are looking to achieve within your company, adapting the hub of your business can make a huge impact in realising those aims. For any business that wants to future proof it’s offering, now is the time to consider any aspects that need to be adapted, and we’re here to help you with this.
We’ve created a wide range of office design solutions for our clients across many different industries. Our work is completely tailored to each client, so whether you know exactly what you have in mind or if you’d like our experts to point you in the right direction you’re in the right place.
Give us a call on 0121 339 5910 or drop us an email with your project enquiry and we’ll be in touch.