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 Yordi Smit, Sales Manager at spacehuntr.
What will be the 3 biggest lasting changes to the workplace caused by COVID?
- The biggest lasting change is that some companies will deem their office building to be redundant. People got used to working remotely and some individuals now prefer this. That said, there are moments where teams NEED to get together in person. During these moments, people prefer to book a separate meeting space for a couple of hours instead of having to enter their stuffy old office building. The event/meeting space, which can be rented for a couple of hours, breeds productivity while also serving to excite the team to get together. In this case, we are not talking about some boring white-walled room with a desk and a couple of chairs, but rather something like a former brewery that has been turned into a meeting space. Or perhaps an old factory building that is no longer operational and turned into a conference venue.
- Hygiene will remain at the forefront of people’s minds. Washing hands, disinfecting workplaces, and in general ‘cleaning’ will be important. ‘Staying safe’ now goes hand-in-hand with ‘hygiene’ and this will remain with us for a long time.
- Work-related events, such as your office Christmas party, will be more important to people. In general, celebrating the fact that we can once again be together within a safe environment, will be a lasting change. People have had to reprioritize their professional lives and many have found out that they crave being more social in both their personal lives as well as with their colleagues. That group of colleagues who get together every Friday afternoon to have a drink after work might find an increase in the number of people who would like to join them.
What workplace technologies will be the most important in the years ahead?
Remote tools have seen a big pickup. We all know how programs such as Zoom have increased in popularity. Tools that keep people involved during virtual meetings/events have seen a lot of development. We wrote an article about the flaws and technologies of virtual events in which we dive into specific examples. For example, did you know that 61% of the time spent at a virtual conference is considered ‘dwell time’? Virtual events might not remain the main form of meeting together, but the format is here to stay.
What will the workplace of the future look like?
The workplace for the future will be a combination between remote teams and in-person teams. Both will need to interact with each other. This is where the last-minute meeting room bookings come in. Hiring people who work within a different city, state, or country will keep on becoming more ‘normal’. Companies have learned that remote workers can be just as efficient as teams who come together within the office every single day. Next to that, companies will need to keep providing their employees with the possibility to work wherever each individual professional feels comfortable. The workplace of the future consists of workers who are physically present within a meeting, while others join online.
What can organizations do to prepare for this new future?
Organizations can LISTEN to their teams. What do they want? Work remote, in-person, or a combination of the two. Employers should not demand people to return to the office but rather offer options to meet individual needs. The mental strain which people across the globe have experienced during the pandemic, can not be ignored and employers will need to take on a flexible and understanding position towards their teams. There is no ‘old normal’ anymore, just a new one. Companies that acknowledge this, those who will remember the lessons of this pandemic, will prevail.