3 ways the pandemic changed what the office will look like

It is time to reimagine the workplace as offices reopen. The role of the office is expected to change vastly post pandemic.

 

The 3 key areas that will see changes are health and workplace wellness; purposed and private spaces for focused work; and increasing role of the office for building culture.

 

Shot of a group of young businesspeople having a meeting outside of an office
LumiNola | E+ | Getty Images

 

Last spring, CNBC Make It asked workplace experts how the pandemic could change the future of work.

 

Brent Capron, the interior design director at architecture firm Perkins and Will’s New York studio, predicted workers would come back to the office on a hybrid schedule. They’d continue to do individual focused work from home and convene in office spaces redesigned as “elaborate conference centers” for large gatherings.

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How to Design an Office Reopening Plan for Effective Hybrid Work

As more companies embrace the hybrid work model it also begs the question –  what strategy should companies adopt to ensure a successful office reopening?

 

How to Design an Office Reopening Plan for Effective Hybrid Work
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Companies across the world are thinking about reopening their office doors and welcoming their employees back. Too many, though, are adopting a “wait and see” strategy–that is, they’re planning to unlock their doors and wait to see which–and how many–employees show up. Companies that adopt this approach are setting themselves up for irreparable damage.

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OPTIONS FOR SMALL OFFICES | FLEXIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW NORMAL

Options for Small Offices | Flexible Solutions for the New Normal
  • Why Does a Small Business Need Office Space?
  • Office Space Challenges
  • Small Office Space: What are the Options?
  • What is Flexible Space?
  • Changing Mindset
  • How to Get a Flex Office
  • Tips for Creating Your Small Office Space
  • Conclusion

 

Given the events of 2020, particularly the need for physical distancing, the office space industry was heavily impacted. It suffered sweeping vacancies and a sheer drop in demand.

 

So it might seem odd that many small firms chose to keep their office space; some even signed up for new workspace and small office space, even though they couldn’t use it at full occupancy.

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4 Things Gen Z and Millennials Expect From Their Workplace

As expectations on how we work and the workplace are changing how can employers attract the new generation workforce back to the workplace?

 

  • Gen Z and millennials now make up 46% of the full-time U.S. workforce
  • Gen X and Baby Boomers prioritize their desire for ethical leadership
  • Diversity and inclusion are very important to younger generations

 

According to Gallup, Gen Z and millennials now make up nearly half (46%) of the full-time workforce in the U.S.

 

To develop the next generation of organizational leaders, every employer needs to be asking: What do our younger workers want from the workplace?

 

In 2018, Gallup asked Gen Z and millennials what they look for most in an employer — and their answers were surprisingly similar. In fact, these themes have only been amplified over the past year.

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The Future Workspace That Isn’t the Workplace

As offices reopen there is an on-going debate whether people will return to the office full time or continue to work remotely. Could there be another option that people can choose where to work from?

 

London WeWork South Bank. Image via WeWork

 

As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been much speculation and debate about whether we will return to our old habits of working in the office 5 days a week, or if working from home creates equal or greater productivity. However, many believe that the future of the workforce will largely be focused on a balance between in-person and in-office working, and a form of remote working, that summates into a new, hybrid model. But if you’re not at home, and you’re not working, then you must be somewhere else- exploring the true in-between of a public and a private space. Enter the concept of the “third” place, which is used to describe everything from coffee shops to banks, and even co-working spaces. If you’ve ever studied for an exam at a bookstore, or even dropped into an airport restaurant to catch up on some work, then you too, have visited a “third” place.

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Evolutions In Workspace Design

Zeiss Michigan Quality Excellence Center. Photograph courtesy of SmithGroup. Copyright James Ewing. 

As companies dig into to the future state of work within their own organizations, numerous workplace models will be examined, including satellite offices; hub-and-spoke models; networks of smaller, lower-cost office spaces closer to employees’ homes, to name a few. At the same time, the home office market will also grow exponentially. In fact, we have already seen a handful of office furniture manufacturers pivot to direct-to-consumer marketplaces. Regardless of the model, we remain confident that design solutions will revolve around the employee experience, with a keen eye on flexibility and choice, technology, sustainability and wellbeing, inclusion, and diversity—all culminating into culture-driven environments.

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RENT OFFICE SPACE | A GUIDE FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESSES

One of the first things you need to figure out when starting a business is how to find and what is needed to get your ideal office space.
Rent Office Space
  • When starting your search for office space, keep in mind that there are different models to choose from: traditional, third-space providers, flexible space rentals.
  • Flexibility has become a key consideration in the business world; when choosing your office space, keep flexibility at the top of your mind to ensure that your office space can grow with your business.
  • One of the main benefits of flexible space is that there are no hidden costs; you pay a monthly fee for rent, utilities, and maintenance.

 

Regardless of industry or company size, many organizations throughout the years have chosen to rent office space rather than lease or purchase real estate to build out their headquarters. For years, this has proven to be a beneficial approach to corporate real estate, but times are changing and companies worldwide are increasingly interested in flexible office options.

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AI’s Nuanced Impact On The Workspace Will Be Bigger Than Covid In The Long Run

Technology including artificial intelligence will play an increasing role and driving transformation in the workplace especially AI will influence how we work in the future.

 

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A wave of automation and artificial intelligence adoption by larger firms is expected start reshaping both who works in offices and what they are doing amid a widespread return to the office.

 

A 2020 survey by Deloitte found that 8 in 10 corporate effects had already implemented some form of robotic process automation, or RPA, a multibillion-dollar industry dedicated to automating repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and decreasing expenses.

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As Offices Reopen, Hybrid Onsite and Remote Work Becomes Routine

As offices reopen organizations are facing the challenge of managing the workplace to meet the needs of both employees and business. So how and when can companies reopen their offices in a structured and planned manner?

 

As Offices Reopen, Hybrid Onsite and Remote Work Becomes Routine

 

Having worked remotely for more than a year, many professional and administrative workers aren’t eager to return to their offices full time. Those who do come back are likely to find that office designs and routines have changed as businesses rethink the purpose and value of centralized work.

 

A number of the nation’s biggest firms have announced that post-pandemic they’ll combine workdays at the office and at home.

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What To Expect When We Return To The Office

While the workforce gets ready to return to the office depending on the industry and job nature this return could take different forms. However most industry experts agreed that the workforce will not be returning to a pre-pandemic office.

 

Lisa Killaby surveyed 20+ workplace designers and strategists on their plans to return the office, client expectations, what they see for the workplace in 2021, and finally what could derail return to work plans.

 

The survey conducted in late February 2021 included participants located across the US from Boston to Portland to Houston. The participants include individuals from design firms, brokerage companies and other allies with the common thread that all participants are seasoned experts in workplace design and strategy.

 

Most agreed that the workplace that existed pre-pandemic will shift to accommodate those who have learned to work from home effectively, those who wish to get back to the office and face-to-face collaboration and those that may wish to combine the best if both of these alternatives.

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