Flexibility and the Future of the Workplace
The global COVID pandemic of 2020 has seen more changes to the nature of work than any other year previous. It’s clear going forward, what is going to work for different businesses will vary depending on your business, culture and demographics of your employees. For many people, this new way of working has caused some to question where their values lie in how they conduct their work.
At A1 Office we see the future of the office space as an opportunity to enhance collaboration, embrace business culture and foster connection with clients. Many employees are keen to get back to the office according to this AFR article, which states 44% of employees working from home want the office to become a space for client meetings, team building and social events.
A study conducted by Capability Jane before the pandemic found that the demand for flexible work options was already increasing, particularly among the millennial workforce, with 92% saying that flexibility was a top priority when job hunting. 72% of all respondents said that they believe flexible working would make them more productive, and a surprising 35% would prefer flexible working rather than a pay rise. Gone are the days of flexible working being the arena of working parents and clerical positions. Many professionals are looking for flexibility in their work life, and with the continuous advancements of communication technologies – particularly those we’ve seen spring up to meet a need during the pandemic – work flexibility is now one of the most highly regarded aspects of work/life balance.
Yet like anything, working from home and increased flexibility comes at a cost. Many employees have reported a lack of connection and team spirit, and there’s concern on how to foster innovation, creativity and company culture while staff are working remotely. Others agree it’s difficult to get to know clients and staff well online, and learning by osmosis is near impossible- particularly for new members of the workforce.
So where does this leave the future physical workspace?
Now more than ever, it’s important that businesses adapt to the changing culture of work and listen to what their staff are asking for. The COVID-19 crisis has opened up some new and exciting opportunities for how businesses think about their physical office space as more people move away from the traditional ideals. We are excited to take on the challenge as the critical purpose of the office spaces changes and more flexible working arrangements become the norm.
Like anything meaningful, the changing workspace is going to be purpose-led and we are passionate about creating spaces that work uniquely for each business and their internal culture. With this changing nature of work, every business will have different ideas and needs when beginning to bring people back into their physical office spaces. Adapting to the needs and desires of your workforce, whether that be bringing everyone back full time, or only having some people in office each day, the way that office spaces are used is in a time of change. Workspace trends that are beginning to occur include:
- Work the workspace
We see the future workspace as a critical place for like minds to come together and work towards a common purpose. The new workspace will be different from your standard office and will have emphasis on collaboration areas. We will see offices become a more casual and social business hub, where staff can meet with clients, and attend meetings. Including wellness spaces that promote meditation and yoga, and creating a space that is enjoyable to be in will be the top priority, followed closely by functionality. Making sure the space is well equipped and provides everything staff and clients could need is also a necessity. Having beautiful and functional meeting spaces, casual breakout areas, and areas in which focused work can take place will be an important aspect of work life moving forward.
- Flexible culture with communication
Not only should the physical spaces be tailored to their specific needs, but with more people working flexibly, and in turn remotely, keeping your communication technology up to date will be of utmost importance. Making sure all meeting spaces and boardrooms are fully equipped to meet the needs and requirements for flexible work arrangements to take place will put you and your business ahead. Flexibility for location and times of staff are important, and productivity will be measured in output over hours.
Creating beautiful, functional and practical workspaces that become central business hubs and meeting places for the hands on aspects of business to take place will be the future of the modern workspace. Being able to devote room in your office space to creating beautiful areas that people enjoy being in will set you ahead of the curve and ensure that your business is well positioned for the flexibility of the future.
For more information on how to create a modern and flexible work environment, get in touch with A1 Office today.