The 2020 Covid19 pandemic sent millions of people working from home, creating unprecedented shifts in how and where people work. That shift remains impactful – even as we return to “normal” – creating opportunities and building a demand for change. Digital and flex work were on the rise pre-pandemic, but, today, just 26% of employees want to work exclusively from the office. And, as people become accustomed to working in the freedom of their own spaces, their demands from spaces will rise.
These shifts in demand are openings for facility managers to create opportunities for collaboration and creativity – building spaces around how people actually work.
Moving Towards the Hybrid Workspace
While work is steadily shifting away from the office, managers and C-Suite remain less than convinced. The office remains the center of work, you need touchpoints and human connection, and even water cooler talk contributes to the right people meeting the right people at the right time to make creativity happen. But, the option to move jobs to home, at least some of the time, have created an increased demand for more flexible work options. The 2021 JLL Worker Preference Barometer surveyed 3,300 office workers, to find that 79% wanted to spend at least one day per week in the office. But, just 26% wanted to work exclusively in the office. 63% voted for a dynamic in which they could choose to work at home, the office, or in a café or other location out of the home. That freedom, which supports more diverse lifestyles, a better life-work balance, and more ability to work around family obligations or even vacations, is increasingly in demand.
Of course, businesses need ways to manage where and how employees work as they move back to the office. Solutions like PADS4 Workspace allow employees to check into desks or locations, at home or in the office, with built-in limitations on how many days per week or month they work from home. That gives HR the crucial ability to see which facilities are in use, how often employees stay home, and where people are working together – effectively eliminating one of the first problems to crop up with hybrid work.
Collaborative Work Environments
As workers shift away from the office, the office is becoming more dynamic. That aligns with flex work and flex-desks, where individuals can move through spaces in ways that fit their needs, collaboration requirements, and day. With desk-booking tools from PADS4 Workspace, an employee can reserve a seat in a quiet room to avoid disruption on a day with deadlines. On another, they might book collaborative spaces with their team – or choose rooms equipped with videoconferencing to support calls.
With fewer people in the office, building workspaces around usability and practicality also makes sense. You no longer have to focus on maximizing capacity. Instead, building a combination of spaces, ranging from private and quiet spaces to open and collaborative brainstorming and project spaces will be key to driving both communication and collaboration.
Designing for Functionality
Redesigning workspaces for hybrid work is a turning point for office design – giving us unique opportunities to build spaces around how people actually work. That means mapping locations to potentially necessary equipment and to work needs. E.g., building conference rooms in quiet and private rooms. Or, setting up small workspaces for 1-3 people for quiet working areas – equipped with nothing more than charging docks and wall outlets, meeting and project rooms with integrated signage or projectors, or open spaces and the facilities employees need to collaborate and do work together.
Of course, practical and functional workspace booking and reservation adds to that functionality. Tools like PADS4 Workspace offer employees an easy way to reserve spaces from a Kiosk, their phone, or a screen at the door. And, with integrated tracking and analytics, facility managers can more easily see which spaces are in-use, which are not popular, and use that data to re-allocate spaces, allocate cleaning, or even allocate temperature control and lighting in spaces with lower utilization.
The future is hybrid
While work-from-home is becoming more popular, it’s incredibly unlikely that office work will ever be replaced. Instead, most offices are shifting to a hybrid model, giving employees the freedom to choose where and how to work most days. That freedom offers perks to employees in the form of a better work-life balance, while giving organizations opportunities to better-utilize workspaces, to build more creative and flexible workspaces, and to see how employees are actually working. Offices aren’t going away, but static open or closed or cubicle offices are, and the future of work is in hybrid, collaborative work environments.
Would you like to know more about IoT and our PADS4 occupancy sensor? Or are you curious how you can use PADS4? Contact us, we look forward to hearing from you!