Monday, 15 february 2021 | Redacción CEU
A desk, a laptop, a pair of slippers and a cup of coffee. With those few words one could describe the work routine of millions of workers in these recent months. The pandemic has pushed many organizations to opt for a system based on telecommuting that was initially provisional. Otherwise, many companies would not have been able to continue developing their activity with a certain amount of normality. In previous articles on our blog, we talked at length about the changes that this turn of events may bring about. However, we hardly mentioned how this can affect our traditional workspace: offices. Today, at the CEU IAM Business School, we analyze the main characteristics of the offices of the future.
Embracing telecommuting as an extended work model raises a question: Is this model here to stay or is it just a temporary measure?
The arrival of the coronavirus has brought about a substantial change in our way of working and, more specifically, in the bet on remote work. However, many of those employees who now work from home will return to their offices once this crisis is either overcome or controlled. It is also true that many experts like Alfonso de San Cristóbal, International Chief HR Officer at Aegon, consider that one of the changes that this pandemic will bring about is the adoption of hybrid work models:
The most obvious thing that has arrived to stay is the hybrid models (remote working and office working). Now we know it can be done and that it brings advantages and disadvantages. We will have to find the right balance
Something that seems to give consistency to this hypothesis is that employees seem to accept this change well. For example, according to the study Resetting Normal: Defining the new era of work carried out by Adecco, 77% of the participants think that the ideal work model of the post-covid era will be one that combines in-person and remote work. Likewise, 80% of those who were surveyed demand greater flexibility in order to carry out their functions and also in terms of where to perform them.
Once this situation ends, companies will have to decide whether employees should go to work every day and stay at their offices or not. Many of them may opt for a hybrid or more flexible work model. This means that workers will have to work in two spaces: one where they used to have it and another in their own homes. We have already mentioned on other occasions how teleworking led to the rise in sales of desktops and electronic devices to adapt to this situation. And it is likely that this trend will continue, as many of them will need to change that temporary space for a more permanent one.
And what will happen to traditional offices?
Although we do not have a crystal ball, we can get an idea of it by analyzing the main trends pointed out by specialists in the sector. Some of them are not new, but this unusual scenario seems to have accelerated their adoption:
A compensation for the loss of contact
Whether the visits to the offices will be frequent or very occasional, these spaces will need to be prepared for collaboration and teamwork. The goal will be to try to recover what might be getting lost in betting on remote work. Therefore, these spaces will be wide, open and people-centric. They will be designed so that workers can interact with their colleagues and visitors, and, in some cases, not only professionally, but also informally. They will also be spaces more focused on innovation, collaboration and training.
The new work methodologies that companies are adopting, such as Design Thinking or Agile, are based on dynamic team structures and ones where presence plays an important role. These spaces will also have to adapt to this new methodologies and professionals’ needs: equipment and tools, easy access to information, spaces that offer privacy when necessary, etc.