The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way we work. Office workers around the world began to work from home, and most were able to do so successfully. More than two-thirds want to continue do so at least a couple of days per week over the long-term. This mindset led to ask why office workers would come to the office in the future?
The following are subject matter experts' (SME) top four answers:
1. They need social interactions with peers and colleagues that they cannot fulfill online. 2. They need to access unique facilities and equipment that can‘t be provided at home. 3. They cannot work from home because they do not have a suitable environment. 4. They need to address complex interactions for high value, fast moving challenges.
As one respondent asserted, “Some jobs cannot be done remotely, but some people cannot work outside of the office environment. As such, being in the office leads to social interaction (the office was their social life). They do not have the space/environment conducive to remote work and they don’t have the discipline to be away from an office where productivity is measured by being in the office.”
THE ROLE OF OFFICE ENVIRONMENTS
Which of the following statements do you think will be most representative of the function that offices will serve in 2025?
STATEMENT A: In 2025, office environments will mainly be a place for collaboration and for social engagements and meeting with colleagues and guests. Limited space for focused work will be supported, and a few spaces for contemplation will be provided at the office. Workers can do this elsewhere.
STATEMENT B: In 2025, office environments will continue to support multiple work modes: focus, collaborate, socialize, refresh and learn.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, some organizations opined that the future office would primarily be a social hub. The question is, what function will the office play in organizations’ future workplace strategies? Fifty-seven percent of respondents selected statement B over statement A (43%). SMEs believe that the office will support all forms of work but focus on collaboration.
Those subject matter experts (SME) who selected statement B commented that ”The office will certainly continue to support all forms of work, but it would be a place for more collaborative work.” Others commented, ”The ‘hub’ will become more of an engagement, collaboration center, but it will need to support all modalities of work.”
Those SMEs who chose statement A made comments like, "This crisis has proven that working from home can work well, so there is no need to go to sit in an office to carry out functional work anymore.”
Article content courtesy of IFMA's October 2020 report titled: "The Experts' Assessment: The Workplace Post COVID-19."