This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Workspace Series which features interviews with a wide range of professionals and thought leaders to learn more about the future of office space and how the workplace experience will evolve.
The following is an interview we recently had with Teresha Aird, Founder & CMO at Offices.net
What will be the 3 biggest lasting changes to the workplace caused by COVID?
Permanent flexibility. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the large-scale viability of remote working practices and instilled businesses with a lot of confidence regarding permanently flexible work schedules. Expect to see a lot of workplaces shift to a hybrid model that provides employees with the freedom to work from home whilst retaining space in the office for important meetings or client interactions.
Smaller and less traditional office spaces. Building off the idea of permanent flexibility, expect to see a lot of businesses downsize their workspaces in order to cut costs and accommodate for lower numbers. A lot of the businesses that have contacted Offices.net over the past 12 months have expressed a desire to move to smaller offices on month-by-month lease terms, allowing them to remain agile in the face of evolving circumstances. We expect to see these offices filled mainly by meeting rooms, studio spaces, informal seating, and modular furniture, a far cry from the cubicle-styled offices that once filled the country.
More irregular working hours. Depending on the industry, I expect to see organizations empower their employees by allowing them to set their own schedules as they complete tasks remotely. The rise of asynchronous methods of communication, as facilitated by project management platforms and tools such as Google Docs, has allowed teams to transparently work together on tasks without needing to be in the same space. However, this way of working will definitely not suit everyone and success requires a high level of trust and self-discipline.
What workplace technologies will be the most important in the years ahead?
Technology that facilitates digital communication will reign supreme in the years ahead, with platforms such as Zoom, Discord, and Slack already serving as indispensable assets to a variety of companies. In addition, the continued integration of smart technology in office buildings is tipped to further improve employee experience, allowing occupants to use their devices to control temperatures, book meeting rooms, check in for the day, and much more. We also expect to see added value being placed on data privacy and security, particularly as employees work on sensitive documents that are stored on the cloud to be accessed at home and in the office.
What will the workplace of the future look like?
As previously mentioned, I believe that the workplace of the future will serve as more of a hub in which employees and managers meet to discuss important projects, upskill through training sessions, socialize to maintain team cohesion, and interact with current or future clients. These types of workspaces can already be found in a number of locations, with large-scale coworking spaces providing great facilities and extras, such as meeting rooms, on an à la carte basis. I also expect to see some businesses shift to a totally remote model, ditching physical spaces in favour of video calls and day-to-day operations that are organized purely through project management platforms such as Basecamp.
What can organizations do to prepare for this new future?
The number one thing that I would suggest for organizations looking to prepare for the future is to communicate with employees in order to gauge the level of interest in permanent remote work practices. It’s important to recognize that each organization is different and that some industries suit hybrid and remote working schedules a lot more than others. Communicating with employees to see how they feel and comparing these feelings against results is a vital step towards determining the path to follow. I would also suggest that organizations explore a wide variety of options when looking to shift into new office spaces, with the range of workspace solutions currently on offer being the most diverse ever.