Once upon a time the office was indispensable. But why do we need expensive offices now that we found out we can work from home? If you look at several studies over the past year, you quickly discover that the future of offices lies in socializing and productivity. In this article, we explore the future workplace with themes such as employee well-being, activity-based working, and hybrid working models. On top of that, we dive into how smart office technology can help your workplace stay future-proof and anticipate change.
1. New ways of working
The pandemic led to a true revolution in the office world: everyone started working from home. According to research specialist Anja Jamrozik, in the post-corona era, we cannot simply go back to what it was like before. Too much has changed, and employees have gotten used to countless new things.
It’s time to start with a clean slate. Before you set up a new workplace strategy, you should ask a couple of fundamental questions like: Why do we work? How can we best work together? How can we cover the things we learned from the pandemic? Next to that, you should consider carefully which tasks your employees perform and design a workplace around it.
2. The importance of the office
One of the effects of the pandemic is that we can now choose where we want to work: at home or the office. Employees will choose the place where they can work as comfortably and productively as possible. Although working from home offers flexibility, the office is the perfect place for collaborating and meeting. On top of that, offices are, unlike homes, optimized for productivity. We believe the office is here to stay and will play an essential role in the well-being and happiness of employees.
Research by McKinsey shows that activities like feedback and training, coaching, onboarding new employees, and making important decisions can be done from home, but they are much more effectively done in the office. The four main reasons for coming to the office are:
- Collaboration: the office improves collaboration. Partly because working face-to-face promotes creativity and problem-solving.
- Social interactions: social interactions with colleagues make us feel involved and happy.
- Feeling connected: Being together in the office creates a sense of belonging, resulting in making us healthier and happier.
- Creativity: being able to work together in the office and have ad-hoc meetings stimulates our creativity.
In offices that are built to support the needs of their employees, people experience more autonomy over the work environment, commitment, pride, and an optimal office experience. This all leads to a higher sense of employee well-being.
Interesting fact: workplace wellness initiatives have an excellent ROI: every dollar invested ultimately yields $3,80, according to a US study.
3. Support employee needs in the office
Activity-based working started in the 1990s when companies started thinking differently about how we work. Thanks to technologies such as laptops and the internet, this new way of working arose.
At first, we talked about the new way of working, but nowadays we call it activity-based working. Both terminologies mean the same: we don’t necessarily work in one fixed place, we do various activities in workspaces that are specially designed for that purpose. Think of a brainstorming room for creative sessions, a focus zone for individual work, and a telephone booth for (video) calls. A workplace that matches activities to areas provides more connection, autonomy, confidence, creativity, productivity, innovation, and inspiration.
4. Consider a hybrid working model
Hybrid working models, in which employees work partly at the office and partly at home, are the future, according to most experts. In a survey from Forrester, 60% of the companies said they are moving towards a hybrid working concept.
That’s a smart move, because hybrid working combines the best of both worlds: focus time and flexibility at home versus working together and socializing at the office.
5. Implement workplace technology
Technology is the most important tool to quickly anticipate new situations and the changing needs of employees. Thanks to sensors and analytics dashboards, you get insights into almost every aspect of your office, including the behavior of employees. This way, you can adapt workspaces almost immediately and you can set up a strong workplace strategy.
On top of that, technology offers the possibility to nudge people to use the space in the best way. You can for example encourage certain teams to sit together.
6. Create a future-proof workplace
Platforms like Mapiq use WiFi, sensors, mobile applications, and integrations with building management systems to optimize the office experience for employees. For example, with our platform, people can book rooms for ad-hoc meetings, book workplaces that suit their activities, locate colleagues, and easily find facilities such as coffee corners and lockers.
The result? Companies that use our platform not only ensure an optimal office experience, happier employees, and higher productivity, but also less absenteeism and employee turnover.
If you would like to discuss the possibilities of workplace technology within your organization, please feel free to contact us.