As businesses adapt to new ways of working and our cities start to buzz again, the workplace is being reimagined and the office has been fast-tracked as a place for quality interactions.
While COVID-19 accelerated trends that would’ve otherwise taken years, it’s the impact of a handful of big trends that will shape the world of work in the months and years to come.
To make sure you’re well placed to retain and attract top-talent, consider the below five trends that every business should embrace to successfully adapt to the future of work.
Although the pandemic really accelerated the shift towards more flexible working, this is a trend we’ve been seeing for the past 10 years.
Flexible office space is emerging as an attractive option for workers and companies that are frustrated with the bedroom boardroom life, but don’t want to return to a traditional format.
According to EY research, 70% of CBD workers want to work flexibly post-pandemic, with an average preference of 3.3 days in the office per week.
With this hybrid work model, balancing a sense of connectedness with flexibility will deliver the richest and most attractive employee experience.
While the future workforce will demand more flexibility, in where, when, and how they work, companies and employees alike still really desire in person meetings for specific activities.
The office is for connection and collaboration
The pandemic underscored the value and role of the office, with a place to safely meet more important today than ever for learning, creativity and growth.
A 2020 study by WeWork found the ability to maintain social relationships has declined an average of 17 percent for all workstyles since working from home.
In the last 12 months, we learnt that it’s not sustainable for meaningful interactions or innovation to take place via Zoom alone. As human beings, we crave real life interactions and proximity is key to building trust in relationships.
While individual or administrative tasks can be completed at home, days spent in the office will be for creating in-person, work-shopping ideas around a whiteboard or tackling a challenge with a colleague over a coffee – those human experiences which can’t be replicated online.
The pandemic accelerated a focus on leveraging technology to maintain productivity while remote to manage utilisation and access to space as employees transitioned back.
Tech has facilitated digitisation of real estate, turning a static line item more fluid and bringing workplace solutions to the consumer, with no long-term commitments, red-tape or complexity.
Booking a workspace or a meeting room through a subscription-based membership or On Demand means employers can swap longer term conventional leases for adaptable space, spread their workforce across multiple locations, and want space to change and grow.
What’s even more exciting is the ability to “work from anywhere” and access hundreds of safe and beautiful workspaces all around the world with a single membership card.
Taking steps to prioritise health and safety has been critical in reassuring employees of safety and instilling confidence. Working from home, many people felt the impacts of isolation and loneliness, which has had a damaging impact on mental health.
We know that wellbeing, spanning emotional, financial, physical and social dimensions, contributes to our ability to feel and live better.
With this, business leaders are quickly considering how they can provide access to resources to support, educate and empower employees to protect and improve their wellbeing.
Personal priorities shifted throughout the pandemic.
Flexible work, time saved on the daily commute and less business travel has allowed some people to spend more quality time with their family or focus more on health and happiness.
Looking ahead, companies are needing to develop new workplace strategies to meet increasingly specified employee expectations, and the most attractive work spaces will be places that provide experience-based interaction and meaningful connection.
Organisations are putting more of a focus on providing an environment for their people to meet, a place where they don’t have to be but want to be.
A well-designed workspace is more than just visually appealing—it empowers productivity, motivation and culture, and connects you to your team.
With home working stifling innovation and creativity, employee expectations of the office are shifting, and the workplace has been redefined as a hub for collaboration and productivity – and workspace design needs to evolve to support this change.
Collaboration hub is created by taking existing offices and converting them so they are less dense and can support diverse work environments.
By creating social meeting spaces conducive to teamwork and innovation, collaboration hubs can also foster creative processes like brainstorming and design thinking.
Thoughtful, intention design is key in creating human-centric workspaces for people to thrive.
As businesses adjust to new ways of working, the best offices of the future will be designed to support people to feel connected, beyond simply being a place to go.
Balder Tol is the General Manager, Australia and Southeast Asia at WeWork and an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality