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COVID-19 and the response of governments across the world has fundamentally changed the way we live and work. The majority of the world’s population moved into some form of lockdown. In the past 10-15 years, we already saw a trend of working from home and where the workplace became more of an agile meeting and collaboration space. COVID has accelerated this trend, the pace of change is incredible and never seen before – scaled remote and flexible working, long-anticipated as a core component of the future of work, has arrived almost ‘overnight’. The definition of the workplace has changed dramatically, just as the definition of the “workday” has also changed. Recent surveys show 66% of remote employees report significant longer working hours especially for those working in teams with people in different time zones.
Research by Global Workplace Analytics predicts that up to 30 per cent of people will continue to work from home several days a week even post-pandemic. What this hints at is a future in which staff do still visit the office for a specific purpose or just on select days, but will combine that with working at other remote locations.
HR has been the first line of enterprise response when the lockdown came in and HR and Facility Management will play a key role in leading the return to work and recovery. By now we learned that forced remote working does not have to come with significant loss of productivity, on the other hand most people feel there needs to be a balance between remote and face-to-face contact with the teams and colleagues.
2 Points of Action emerge: 1) The Future of Work will be working more from home / other locations and less in the office. Employers needs to re-orchestrate the definition of Office. 2) Organisations need to invest in digital facility and space management to better adopt to the new conditions and potentially also various forms of new intermittent lock-downs going forward.
As employers come to terms with teams that are constantly shifting between spaces and settings, they will need a platform that helps them manage where people in the office are at what time, when they have to be together and when they can be apart. Office design needs to work across contexts, from focus room to meeting room, from meeting room to open space, from open space to videoconference room, etc. The idea of choreography – ‘directing movements’ – will inflect every aspect of the relationship between user and an office space that for the first time needs to be truly ‘agile’. Simply said, we are not yet in a position where we can predict the exact outcomes – which of those sub-trends will transpire or dominate; which others may emerge – but we can be very certain that this will be a time of continuous innovation in the office.
During this webinar, we will present how with investing in and realigning digital technology, processes, structures, and workforce management policies, you can create sustainable new ways of working both during a global pandemic and also after in what will become the new norm.