According to the INE, 3 million people had to stop working in person suddenly and went to work remotely during the most serious COVID-19 pandemic, coinciding with imprisonment in Spain. Until then, telework had not had a great introduction in Spain and companies improvised its adaptation to this new form. The activity of working at home has proved to be very useful and has proved to be a tool for flexibility and reconciliation desired in our country. However, it also revealed shortcomings that affect the well-being of teams and the productivity of organizations.
The reasons are clear. The office is one of the key points in the socialization of people and this has known advantages for companies: the feeling of belonging to the group increases the well-being and the commitment of the workers. In the short term, working from home may be enough to keep business going, but in the long term, organizations find it very difficult to survive without these factors.
Large companies embrace this perspective and understand the workplace as one of the essential tools to stay competitive. It is the lever that fosters innovation and growth that can only be achieved when people work together effectively, leveraging their creativity to the max. And employees agree: According to a survey conducted by the Gensler Research Institute in the United States and collected by Steelcase, about 90% of workers want to return to work in an office.
As research from Steelcase, a leading space consulting company, reveals: “Businesses must be aware that their workspaces are a critical asset to their productivity, they are the heart of any organization. For this reason, it is necessary to reinterpret them to make them spaces of change and a meeting point for creativity and productivity, ”says Alejandro Pocia, President of Steelcase Iberia.
The future of work: flexibility to be more productive
The end of remote work, in general, is yet to come. It is not known when and how this will happen, nor under what specific measures or protocols. What is certain is that the face-to-face model of business must evolve into something different from the past.
Ultimately, the needs of companies go through the reinvention of workspaces. Office density will no longer be the priority, but the ability to easily adapt to possible economic, climatic or health changes. It starts with understanding the type of building needed, analyzing its facilities, and then designing and fitting it out in a way that helps people realize their full creative potential. Spaces that expand and contract, which help create community and promote a sense of belonging.
“If the workspace is not designed with the new needs of the post-Covid era and the people who work in it in mind, meeting their needs for physical, emotional and cognitive well-being, then it will not meet not its role of contributing to generate those interpersonal relationships that we miss so much at the moment or to serve to guarantee the quality of the work of our employees and collaborators ”, warns the president of Steelcase Iberia.
The “ 4Ps of productivity ” will return to the office in 2021
However, following the recommendations of the various Steelcase experts, the design principles for this type of space are based on 4 keys around the concept of productivity spaces, on which the company is based:
Proximity: Person-to-technology proximity is essential to achieve the integration of remote participants, and person-to-space proximity relies on providing a variety of spaces that provide the choice and control needed throughout the day.
Confidentiality: All forms of confidentiality (acoustic, visual, territorial and informational) help to create a sense of comfort and psychological security, helping people to feel comfortable and free to share ideas and exhibit their work .
Postures: Facilitating the adoption of different types of postures makes it possible to perform different modes of work more effectively and contributes to health and well-being.
Personality: Flexible spaces help set the tone for an organization’s brand and culture. This link with identity is attractive to workers.