The Workplace of The Future
The unprecedented nature of the last 18 months has forced businesses to make critical decisions resulting in generational shifts in attitude and workplace practices that will remain well past the pandemic. This extends to changes in working behaviours, the acceleration of flexible work conditions and impact to the physical workspace.
In 2021, businesses worldwide are now reviewing the role of the office and it’s functional fit out to support flexible working and encourage effective collaboration. In what could feel like a daunting and complex process, here is the PALM TOP 5 Guide to reshaping your workplace of the future - whether that be a new build, a reconfigure of an existing space, or downsizing to meet your new requirements with culture, environment and technology at the forefront.
Fit For Purpose
The office of the future should be a purpose-designed space, curated in a way that understands who it is serving, what it will be used for and the purpose and output of that space. With flexible working models here to stay, workplaces will need to have the right settings and spaces, taking into account where staff do work, how they do work, with the right tools and accessible technology.
With many employees opting to work at least part of the week remotely, only a percentage of your team will need to come into the office on any given day, meaning you’re not going to need as much floor space, and open plan bookable workspaces, non-bookable agile areas, task-focused work zones, and modular furniture should be a consideration. The purpose of the office should be connection and engagement rather than output so the first step here is defining the role of your workplace.
The Flexible Working Revolution
Arguably one of the biggest game changers of 2020 is the way we work. The pandemic response fast tracked the flexible working model and it’s now here to stay - with the how, when and where we work becoming a critical factor in employee happiness, engagement, wellbeing, mental health and, as a result, productivity. The office space of the future should be adaptable to meet the demands of the modern workplace and enable employees to work in a variety of settings; in 2021 we’ve already taken it one step further by offering ‘flexibility within flexibility’ and this also applies to the workplace.
To start the process of what the workplace should look like to accommodate the new flexible working model, you should start by asking your people - what do you want?
Connection is Key
One of the biggest changes to the office is that it’s no longer just a place with a desk, the workplace is now a destination; a refreshing opportunity to see friends, to be inspired, come together, collaborate and connect. Success and productivity will no longer be measured on having rows of desks filled, teams are seeking a space that supports collaboration and socialisation.
Going forward, staff will need a very compelling reason to leave their homes; a well-designed and considered space can contribute to a culture of learning and knowledge sharing, while amenities, access to natural light, and other aesthetic features promote feelings of vitality. A people first approach is imperative as is customising the work environment to improve people’s work lives.
It’s no longer enough for offices to be offices. They have to be smart offices. The last year has emphasized the importance of technology, as tech was relied on more than ever before for companies to conduct work and we quickly adopted to cloud-based communications, collaboration, and productivity tools. Digital collaboration is now part of our every day and that needs to translate into the office infrastructure – businesses need to prioritise connectivity via technology, and also make it easy for their people to use especially when face to face is not the desired option.
Health & Wellness
Since the pandemic, workplace wellness has become a hot topic that now encompasses mental health, diversity and inclusion and health and wellbeing with a greater emphasis on employee engagement. In order to support staff and entice them back to the office, businesses will need to bring wellbeing-focused design elements into the office that work in tandem with company culture to foster a healthy atmosphere. Light, nature, sound, air and spatial planning should all be considered as a means of enhancing well-being, leading to a healthier, more engaged and high performing workforce. There are short term and long terms changes you can make – what could this look like for you?
The good news is, PALM are experts in spatial planning, workplace strategy and office fitouts and are ready to support you during every phase – get in touch today.