Ieva Bagdzeviciute, Workplace Solution Service Coordinator at Technopolis, points out that the calmness of most customers comes from the different incentives. “21% of the respondents feel calm because they believe that the workspaces will not change at all, and half of the interviewed clients are convinced that future changes will be for good. Interestingly, even while predicting that the workspaces will still change, only 40% of respondents have developed the post-pandemic work model plans. One-fifth of the clients surveyed intend not to change anything, and another one-fifth are more focused on the day-to-day challenges,” says I. Bagdzeviciute.
Speaking of currently prevailing workplace priorities, the respondents focus on protecting employees’ health (67%), increasing the power of collaboration (58%), as well as strengthening engagement and loyalty (50%) and creating easily adaptable workspaces (50%).
Commenting on the priorities highlighted in the survey, the workspace solutions expert notes that the office becomes a place for action and cooperation, while later in the process people tend to choose quieter places to reflect on the results of a meeting or brainstorm. As a result, the companies implementing a hybrid work model are installing even more multifunctional office equipment.
Atypical meeting rooms with high desks, mobile furniture, home-type meeting spaces, and enclosed spaces for virtual conversations provide the conditions and incentives for communication and collaboration. Action-intensive tasks and routine work are performed in an open space, while work that requires concentration or summarizing ideas can either be done at home or at a quieter office space. In such a case, classical meeting rooms serve a new purpose.
I. Bagdzeviciute points out that strengthening employee involvement and loyalty is one of the biggest challenges. “It is almost impossible to spread the company's culture remotely – the engagement and loyalty are usually fostered by a sense of community, visual contact with colleagues, and a work environment where the person recognizes the company’s values through colors or other details, even through the specific manifestations of the company’s product or service in the office interior.”
Therefore, according to her, the office design solutions will be even more important for a communication of company’s values. The focus on employees will be further reflected in a quality office environment, starting from such common things like ergonomic furniture, comfortable temperatures, light and air quality, to technological solutions that ensure efficient involvement of every employee, no matter in which part of the city, country or world he or she works.
I. Bagdzeviciute points out that offices are becoming more and more similar to home environments. “An eloquent example is that the sales of the plants have now hit record high as they are increasingly being used in the offices. During the lockdown, we appreciated the comfortable and lovely home environment, thus when we return to the office, we again want to stretch out on the comfortable sofa, just like we did it at home during a longer virtual conversation. So we want to move to the office with all our cozy home set, therefore its interior has to adjust accordingly.”
Workplace Solution Service Coordinator at Technopolis makes no secret that today it is not worth expecting to 100% adjust the office for the next five years. “Now we should not stand still for too long while looking for the perfect solutions, because these changes will not end on a specific day with the end of quarantine or a vaccine passport – it is part of a bigger process. However, it is possible to be more easily prepared for future flexibility – we plan our buildings in small modules, where each one has its own mini-infrastructure, so if necessary, one common space can be quickly changed to several fully equipped small spaces or vice versa.”
According to I. Bagdzeviciute, first of all, the companies should evaluate the existing solutions that are no longer working or no longer have the support of employees, and boldly change them. She recommends focusing on enhancing the multifunctionality and the technologies needed for its implementation, addressing acoustic misunderstandings in office space, enabling employees to perform their tasks in the spaces that best suit their needs, and choosing flexible solutions that allow to continue adapting without major changes.
A survey of the decision-makers was conducted in May. One-third of the companies located in the Technopolis Ozas campus took part in this survey.