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
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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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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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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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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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Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to

The pandemic has created a now widely adopted work-from-home culture. However as offices start opening to welcome back their employees organizations have to rethink what workers can continue to work from home and who should be back at the office.

 

The decision on which jobs are heading back to the office and which can stay home will vary widely depending on nature of the job and the industry. So

 

Person wearing a face mask working at a desk looking at computer monitor in an office.
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America’s vaccine rollout is happening faster than expected, with the general population now eligible to get their shot this week instead of in May or June, as originally anticipated. In turn, some office workers in the United States are going back to the office sooner than we thought. When they return and how often they’re expected to be at their desks, however, could vary widely.

 

And as the return to the office picks up, the extent to which American office workers are allowed to continue working from home — which the vast majority of them have done during the pandemic — stands to affect everything from their satisfaction at work to where they are able to live.

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Wellbeing, Culture And The Evolving Workplace

As the workplace evolves with the way we work, new workplace strategy should embrace flexibility, wellness and people centric solutions to create healthy and inspiring workspaces.

 

How can companies incorporate wellbeing and culture into their workplace strategy successfully?

 

DPR Sacramento Headquarters, Sacramento, California. Photograph courtesy of SmithGroup. © Chad Davies

Across the globe, the events of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth an acute awareness of public health and personal wellbeing. Millions of people were forced to address wellness and work/life balance in new and unexpected ways. As a result, employers have stepped up to offer flexibility, incentives, and amenities to support a new era of work/life integration that promotes health and wellness for all.

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FUTURE OF WORK: HYBRID WORK MODELS COULD HELP BUSINESSES SAVE $500B A YEAR

Hybrid work has been gaining a lot of attention and adoption. Is this just a hype or is there a business case for going hybrid?

 

What business benefits can hybrid work models offer to organizations?

 

  • A new report highlights the business benefits of flexible and remote work, which includes billions of dollars in cost savings.
  • Most employees don’t want to work remotely or from the office full-time; the majority of workers prefer a hybrid approach.
  • This comes from five key areas: productivity, real estate costs, reduced absenteeism, business continuity, and reduced staff turnover.

 

A recent report by Global Workplace Analytics and Design Public Group (DPG) found that “employers could collectively save over $500B a year — roughly equal to the GDP of Sweden, Belgium, or Poland—or almost $11k for each employee who works at home half of the time.”

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The 2021 State of Remote Work

While remote work is not new it has gained a lot of attention in the past year as a result of COVID-19.

 

We share here top insights and data from one of the largest remote work reports – The 2021 State of Remote Work report – put together by Buffer.

 

 

 

This past year, everything changed in the world of remote work.

 

Remote work went from a niche decision some companies made to an inevitable and massive shift in the way that people work around the world. While working from home doesn’t offer the same benefits of truly remote work, it is still a remote experience.

 

As a result of this shift, the 2021 State of Remote Work looks very different this year. To start, our survey asked very different questions. We still looked into the benefits and struggles of remote work, and whether or not people wanted to keep working remotely (even if they were pushed into it rather suddenly). We also found out how many of our respondents worked remotely as a result of COVID-19, and how their experiences differ from folks who worked remotely prior to 2020.

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Redesigning the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Work as we know it is forever changed by COVID-19. Now is the time for managers to envision the office that employees will return to.

 

This research piece sheds light on how organizations should rethink, reinvent and redesign the post-pandemic workplace for their returning workforce.

 

Image courtesy of Ken Orvidas/theispot.com

The world has experienced widespread disruption over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the successful development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, the timeline for when the so-called next normal will arrive is clearer. Leaders should begin to take steps to consider what the workplace will look like when it arrives.

 

There is no going back to the prepandemic workplace. Organizations and individuals have had no choice but to discover new ways of working. Many have reported successfully implementing years’ worth of digital transformation plans over the course of a few months. Even companies that needed to maintain a significant colocated workplace used digital innovations to improve employee and customer engagement and safety. Managers should begin asking themselves how they can build on such innovations to further transform their businesses instead of planning a return to ways of working that were becoming outdated and obsolete even before the pandemic.

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