Four design trends the new workspace must include to ensure successful organizations
What impact has the pandemic had on face-to-face work and what will be the future of this modality? To answer these questions and more, Steelcase experts analyzed the impact, prospects and future of office work since the start of the pandemic, through more than 8 primary studies, the analysis over 8,000 designs and over 32,000 employee surveys. and managers in Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China or India. The main conclusions: 90% of the professionals questioned wish to return to the office, with at least a day of telework, according to an average of 55% in the answers. With this, 24% of workers globally expect that in 2021 labor flexibility policies will improve.
What does teleworking mean for employees and managers?
This unprecedented shift in the work paradigm has had different effects on work teams around the world, highlighting the different cultural traits of each country. Respect for the subject, Spanish socialization and lack of reconciliation are among the aspects most badly received: the feeling of isolation (48%) and the negative impact of the reconciliation between work and personal life (19%) are positioned as the main negative aspects that the Spaniards appreciate, the most remarkable data and well above those of neighboring countries, such as France or Germany.
Ironically, the positive lies in the convenience: at 48%, travel savings are well above the global average of 37%. In addition, workers in Spain also highlight the increased flexibility (28%) and the ability to avoid distractions at the office (26%). These effects, in any case, could not prevent a loss of link between workers and their leaders, with an average of 18% in the case of Spain, which is above 9% in the world.
With this, after various analyzes, Steelcase experts define 5 different profiles of workers in the current work paradigm:
Overworked family helper. Working from home is a flow of competing demands. She misses the office because of the possibility of disconnection. “Relieved” worker. More than a relief to avoid contagion, he feels that the environment at home is more favorable and it is a “respite” for him not to share physical space with his companions. Creative and frustrated connector. Frustrated at not being able to have his usual co-creative contacts “on hand”, his dilemma is whether this need justifies exposing himself to contagion. Search for “autonomy”. Far from the eyes of peers or superiors, this profile finds in him a self-regulator of his time and his organization. Asylum “Zoomer”. Despite the constant and intense work and the digital connection, they find that their greatest motivation to return is social contact with their colleagues, as long as the organization offers them all the guarantees of safety.
Nothing will be the same: Spain chooses the “hybrid model”
Spain opts for a hybrid system of work flexibility between office and teleworking (53%), despite the fact that the analyzed world average is much more in favor of further deepening this new hybrid paradigm (72%). This point from our country shows that at the moment we have seen the benefits of working from home, since when asked what frequency of telecommuting in the future would you like? », 47% are inclined to telecommute two or more days at a time. Week, but in the case of France, it is 30%, and in the case of Germany, it represents 28%, data which may come from the novelty that this type of work represents for the Spaniards.
The ever-present pandemic has taken the issue of face-to-face change at work even further, as demonstrated by the insights Steelcase has gained from various business leaders over the past year. If in April 2020, around 67% of companies were considering rethinking the weight of the presence in the office or remote work, in September of this past, this percentage rose to 87% in the expected increase in flexibility. However, currently we can underline that 53% of Spaniards analyzed will be ready to telework for 1 day or less, 33% from 2 to 3 days and 14% from 4 to 5 days.
What are workers waiting for in new spaces
As it could not be otherwise, the Spaniards, in line with most of the countries analyzed, ask their organizations to regain their usual workspace, a feeling of safety and optimal air quality (73%), in addition to a correct arrangement that allows social distance (70%), followed by solid policies of contact with suppliers (64%) and a feeling of cleanliness (63%).
They hope to recover, in the same way, mainly the possibility of personal co-creation and social relations (30%), as well as access to specific tools (28%), or to improve the educational aspect and learning (28%).). Out of curiosity, these priorities change when the profile is managerial, the first necessity of which is to have a neutral space to deal personally with their clients.
The change of business conception for the immediate future
The future of workspaces revolves around four key attributes for the development of jobs: security, productivity, inspiration and flexibility, by changing the specific characteristics that have guided their development.
On these questions, Alejandro Pocia, president of Steelcase in Spain explains: “rather than changing space, it is about making the office a space of change. Innovation occurs when people come together in a common space that allows them to be more creative. No virtual experience can replace physical experience. Contact and interaction between people is essential for the ideas we need to move forward to emerge, which is why there is a need to rethink many current workspaces. The old offices no longer serve us, we have to adapt to a much more flexible model, with spaces designed for today’s needs and prepared for what may happen in the future ”.
In this way, four major design trends are mentioned for 2021:
Think about individual and collective needs: they should facilitate individual and team work, while allowing for rapid changes from focus alone to working with a team. Flexibility and fluidity: these are spaces that allow different ways of working. In this sense, two types are designed: flexible spaces (mobility, accessible power, technology and division) and flexible architecture (elements that allow multiple ways to reorganize space, spaces that expand and contract as needed. ). Combine open and closed spaces: a main trend will be closed spaces for individual concentration and open spaces for collaborative work. The Physical and Digital Union: Teams will need spaces and technologies to create inclusive experiences for team members working both remotely and physically present. Smart sensor technologies should be integrated into the infrastructure to support the growth of data-driven and artificial intelligence experiences.