Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional office space was designed to ensure that employees had the right environment to boost their productivity and productivity. Many team leaders used to take into account the time the employee spent in the office as a factor in assessing productivity.
So working on the premises of the employer organization was the rule. In fact, a relevant study by the European Commission showed that before the pandemic, more than half of workers in many EU countries had not worked a single day away.
The traditional office space is changing
In 2020, on the occasion of the pandemic, there was a sharp increase in telework and the mentality regarding the physical presence of employees in the office changed completely. Forced “work from home” has led team leaders and leaders to realize that productivity and performance were not only not adversely affected by remote work, but in many cases improved.
As we seem to be entering a new regularity, some employees are reluctant to lose the control they have gained over the last year in their space and way of working. According to a survey by the Adecco Group, many employees hope to find the golden balance of work at home and in the office, while there are cases of employees who prefer remote remote work, with office work being limited to perhaps one day a week. week or less. On the contrary, there are those employees who prefer the physical presence at the company’s premises all working days and hours.
What will the office of the future be like?
According to the Adecco Group, companies will need to reconsider the future of their office facilities by focusing on flexibility in order to maintain a productive and dedicated workforce, thus serving all types of employees. To be precise, the estimate is that the traditional, functional office space will be transformed into a workplace designed around social interaction, collaboration and relationship building, with a greater emphasis on technology utilization and spaces that encourage sociability.
According to Konstantinos Mylonas, Cluster Head of the Adecco Group in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, “from the studies of the Adecco Group, we can see that in the past people spent 70% of their working hours in the office to do their job and 30% of their time working with colleagues. Now this will be reversed, since the employees will come to the office to collaborate, to have creative discussions, to work on group projects.
“Everyone’s individual work activities will be done remotely, eliminating travel time, boosting productivity and improving quality of life.”
Companies are in the process of planning how to return employees to their workplaces, but this return is not expected to be universal. Leaders are called upon to find a way to build a better, more flexible working future that is tailored to the needs of their employees.
The development of digital technology has also made the work environment flexible enough to allow different spaces and collaboration methods to be used for different purposes, depending on the needs of employees and businesses.
And although one would think that this new regularity would not require as much office space as in the past, as the number of office workers would be more limited, in the post-pandemic era more space would be needed for a similar number of employees to maintain a safe social distance.
This distance, in addition to ensuring the health of employees, will also provide the flexibility that the future office will have to offer to meet the needs of a human resources looking for places to socialize and exchange ideas. The offices will be redesigned as “social hubs” with the inclusion of more common areas.
What the architects see
Architects are actively working on the issue of the post-pandemic office, stressing that the future of offices will be completely different from what we knew. Montalba Architects, for example, envisions moving to a flexible node of “co-working” spaces instead of large open spaces with the classic rows of offices.
At the same time, the architects believe that the issue of sustainability will be of great concern and will affect the layout of office space. The architects of Wolfgang & Hite see that the office spaces in the near future will be designed in such a way as to reduce the environmental footprint, but they do not fail to emphasize the tendency to create spaces suitable for social gatherings and interaction.
The future workplace will be adapted to the changing nature of working life. COVID-19 gave impetus to the re-examination of the office environment which is planned to become a space that will be intended not only for work, but also for social interaction.