The office used to be a staple for any business, from staff lounges and meeting rooms to coffee machines and office equipment. It was hard to envision being the employee of a company and not experiencing the workplace culture that came with it. However, the past year has made both employers and employees reconsider the role of their office space.
Office spaces in the 21st century
There has been no shortage of debate on the typical office setup. However, one of the biggest arguments surrounding office spaces is if they’re even still necessary in the present.
Many experts believe that for certain professions, forcing people to show up to work is an outdated concept, while others argue that separating the venues for your work and personal life improves a person’s work-life balance. Despite all this back and forth, there was never an opportunity to put the theories to the test. That is, until 2020 unexpectedly created a large-scale case study ripe for the picking.
The future of office spaces
However, this does not necessarily spell the end for physical office spaces. Some experts believe that it still has its specific uses. For one, it can remain open for those who need a place to work outside their home. Offices in 2022 will likely be much smaller than they used to be, but still have the necessary equipment for work such as 3D printers, high-speed internet, and ceiling projectors, etc. to accommodate employees who do not have access to these things at home or may not have a work-conducive home environment. It can also be a place to carry out collaborative work and hold important meetings.
Office spaces: the good and the bad
Many employers expressed concern that remote work would be detrimental to productivity, however, studies showed that employee productivity has increased when the company switched to a work-from-home setup. One of the reasons for this is because the migration to a digital space eliminated many of the redundant steps that slowed major processes. Another benefit is the elimination of costs that come with maintaining a physical office space.
It’s not just businesses that are benefiting from this work-from-home arrangement. Many say they want to continue working remotely. This is likely because working from home eliminates the stress and fatigue brought about by lengthy commutes and strict work hours. The higher flexibility of work-from-home also contributes to the increased productivity. Some people are naturally more productive in the later hours of the day, while others need frequent breaks to stay motivated, habits that usually won’t fly in a typical office setting.
The past year taught businesses many important lessons, one of them being: the importance of flexibility. Instead of adopting rigid conventions, a business needs to be flexible and implement policies that benefit the company and the people who work for it. There is no one-size-fits-all as all workplaces and employees are different. Communicate with your employees to understand their specific needs and adjust based on their feedback. Work together to progress towards a more harmonious and efficient company.