With so much changing in the past year in terms of how the office space is used, here at Bluespace we wanted to provide a detailed account of what the future of the office will most likely look like, and the ways in which we can support and accommodate this transition. With workspaces changing so much within the past few months, could this mean that office spaces are predicted to be redundant? We look into the likelihood of this, and the impact of recent events on how we, as a society, work.
The Importance of the Office
Office spaces have a huge impact on several aspects of the running of any business. Offices are an integral part of company culture, allowing for effective communication between staff, thus allowing for the building of team culture, cohesion and trust amongst employees. These activities are most effective when done through continuous face-to-face interactions, which currently cannot be replicated with various digital technologies.
Whilst studies have shown that when working on individual task-based work there is very little difference in the ability to do so whether working remotely or in the office, collaboration and knowledge sharing are certainly best done through face-to-face interactions.
In addition to this, isolation has a huge impact on the productivity of employees, often contributing to disengagement. This can be seen in the fact that “30% of remote workers say they struggle with loneliness whilst working remotely.” It is therefore vital to prioritise the needs of your employees to ensure that they are well looked after and the way to do so is to allow for flexible working. While working from home is a necessary requirement in recent times, it should not replace Office working entirely, thus a compromise needs to be made in which a flexible working policy is put in place.
Allowing for Flexible Working
Before this year only, according to BCFA “15% of jobs advertised flexible working, while 90% of employees wanted flexible working arrangements.” This shows that the demand for flexible working has always been prevalent, in fact the concept of flexible working has been around for over 50 years, but due to recent events has been pushed to the forefront of business practices. Flexible working arrangements do not mean that the office will no longer be a place in which to work, but that it will be one of two options for a place to work instead, the other being working from home. In reality, BCFA claimed that only “15% of employees want to work from home full time.” The biggest change which has an impact on productivity is the choice to work remotely or in the office, thus flexible working is the best policy for businesses to adopt in the coming months and thereafter. The past year has in fact shown that businesses are able to put remote working policies in place, and that employees are able to work effectively from home, with “46.6% of the UK workforce working from home in April 2020” according to BCFA.
There are certain constraints which need to be considered when working from home, predominantly health and safety, cybersecurity and technological issues, and employees should be supported as much as possible, whether working from home or in the office.
Changing Your Office Space
With the sudden changes to work spaces thrust upon businesses due to the past year, it is important to consider your next steps as a business and how you will adapt your office space to accommodate this sudden change. Whilst this sudden change may seem like it is caused by a temporary situation, flexible working policies have been desired amongst employees for years, take a look at the Flex Appeal campaign for instance. As a result of these sudden changes and the pressure mounted by campaigns for flexible working, businesses will need to prepare for this cultural change in relation to the working environment.
The conclusion is that the future of the office is taking into consideration flexible working and to understand office space requirements and adapt the office to accommodate this. It is evident that “many workplaces are not equipped for this new reality. Businesses that no longer need as much desk space but want space for collaboration will need to put this in place.” Here at Bluespace we have been creating bespoke solutions to fulfill your new office design requirements, helping you to adapt your space to fully accommodate your employees whilst keeping them safe. Whether you require an office fit out, office refurbishment or any of our other bespoke services, speak to a member of our team today to see how we can help transform your office, and as a result your business.
The team at Bluespace are professionals from design right through to the installation team on site. Furniture decisions can be quite stressful but Bluespace led us through the choices, worked with stakeholders and kept within our budget. The Centrum on the Norwich Research Park was a challenge – the space performs lots of functions: a busy café-restaurant, a place for a private chat or to work on the laptop between meetings, a networking venue and presentation space alongside meeting rooms! Bluespace proposals made the space work for everyone. We’ve had lots of praise for the choice of furniture and I’m sure this has contributed to Centrum’s success. I look forward to working with Steve, Jonathon and Fran again.
Dr Nick Goodwin
Norwich Research Park/Centrum