Exploring the Future of Work
The concept of working from home has growing slowly but steadily for years. The recent pandemic suddenly sent this previously controversial notion into full swing, as companies rushed to provide employees with access to the tools needed to carry out their daily work remotely. After the dust settled, it quickly became apparent to many employers managing office-based teams that employees could not only be productive and focused while working remotely – but that in many cases, were even more so than in the office. Leading office-furniture supplier Herman Miller launched a six-month virtual listening tour, carrying out 160 discussions with leading persons in a range of industries from real estate to interior design. The overwhelming majority admitted to being in the process of re-evaluating their workplace strategy for a post-pandemic future. Herman Miller identified three shifts in workplace strategy and mentality which they claim to be the key to keeping a workplace relevant. Being proudly exclusive suppliers of Herman Miller in Malta, here at the Fino Office Division we are standing by to help upgrade your workplace strategy with office products which best suit your needs.
1 Hybrid Strategy
In the early days of the pandemic, companies and employees alike were challenged by the sudden shift in daily routine. However, a year down the line, up to 70% of organisations have set plans in motion to allow for some portion of their workforce to continue remote work. Research from Harvard Business School reveals that 81% of office workers do not see themselves returning to the post-pandemic office five days a week. Approaches to the workplace strategy now vary, from the “binary strategy” (employees are viewed as either office workers or remote workers) to “remote-first strategy” (employees are assumed to be remote workers first). The strongly germinating approach – and the one felt to have the strongest potential to retain relevancy in the coming years – is the “hybrid strategy”, wherein most employees are given the option to choose whether they will be working remotely or from the office on any given day. This strategy represents a shift in company mentality, as organisations strive to holistically address the needs of a diverse workforce with a focus on equal experience. The approach considers that several factors may contribute to a worker’s engagement and work productivity on a day-to-day basis – work styles, workplace locations and conditions, project deadlines, family responsibilities and other needs. By placing trust in the employees to make the right decisions based on their daily tasks and preferences, organisations create an office which is desired and promotes positive productivity.
2 Competitive Edge
Even before the pandemic, the office workplace struggled to provide people with support and found it difficult to create an area where engagement and productivity were the main focus. Offices were considered too run-of-the-mill, with generic layouts, a lacklustre atmosphere and deprioritised the initiative of remote working. Given the opportunity, many workers had already joined the transition of working remotely, setting up office in internet cafes, home office setups or co-working spaces. Post-pandemic, organisations have begun to see that their spaces must not tie down workers and create a dependency on the workplace, but rather feel supported by it and feel able to access it as per their daily needs and work styles. From data drawn from 19,000 users of the Herman Miller WFH Ergonomic Assessment tool and other sources, three core experiences have been identified which workplaces can use to support their workers in this
Community Socialisation. By providing areas which encourage people to interact with their extended network of co-workers, both within their immediate work-area and their outer circle of company acquaintances, workers maintain a sense of connection which establishes and maintains social work culture.
Team Collaboration. The predominant office space model is for individual work-areas to belong to specific individuals, with group spaces such as meeting rooms being shared. Socialisation and collaboration can be encouraged by companies by introducing the neighbourhood model. Here, team space is owned and individual work-areas exist within the space. This approach has proven to better accommodate longer-term collaboration and encourage team communication without requiring scheduled meeting times and videoconferences.
Individual Focus. The rush to create workspaces at home has been stressful for many, as rooms are taken over as temporary offices, classrooms, and meeting rooms. Added to that is the complications of family members, roommates, or household responsibilities, which have created the feeling of being unable to separate work-life from personal life. For these people, the organisation workspaces promise a return to a sanctuary of concentration and focus, given the right spatial set-up.
3 User Adaptability
A result of the pandemic was for many organisations to provide safer workspaces and reduce contact between workers and clients alike. However, with the shift in focus on employee well-being, it has become increasingly obvious that adaptability plays a key role. The prevailing model for a workplace setting is flexibility for the company, where workspace areas can be configured for the different uses of a facility or team. However, the emerging trend is to focus on creating an area which can be adapted by the people working within it. Many organisations have undergone construction recently as offices have been vacated. Now as workers return to their offices, these companies look to invest in furnishings and tools which embrace change. These adaptable solutions encourage worker autonomy and choice, allowing the people to configure their workspace to their needs.
Let's Evolve Together
If recent events have made one thing clear, it is that the workplace is ready for the next step in its evolution. Change is an ever-present factor and Herman Miller has always considered desirable and productive workplaces to be a cornerstone of their office design. Check out the full article by Herman Miller for more information. Would you like to know more about how you can implement a hybrid strategy? Are you ready to invest in workplaces with a competitive edge? Perhaps you feel that your workers need their workspaces to be more adaptable to their needs. Contact Fino and speak to our workspace experts to get started.