2020 has transformed the way we perceive our offices, our cities, our work. 2020 has shaken the foundations of office life, and has made us rethink where we work, how we work, and what we want in the future. If you are on LinkedIn, you have probably seen many polls asking people how they would like to go back to the office once things go back to normal. Repeatedly, the common denominator is that people appreciate flexibility over anything else. Now, they are also expecting it.
Often attached to more rigid spaces and schedules, companies have witnessed how employees have kept (and sometimes increased) their productivity despite working from anywhere. The main eye-opener is that there are many benefits from giving employees agency to decide how and where they want to work: improved work-life balance, decreased stress levels, easier recruitment of top talent, improved productivity, reduction of pollution. And the list keeps going on.
Does this mean the end of company headquarters and flagship locations? Not at all. Having a central office still plays an important role in fostering a corporate culture, and giving a sense of belonging to employees. Working from anywhere is not at odds with having a central office where people can get together regularly. On the contrary, it is a necessary complement. The future of the office is to have distributed spaces that fit people’s agenda’s and the type of work they are planning to do. Some days, an employee might need a convenient desk close to her home, whereas the day after she might require having a meeting room with a view to discuss the next deliverables with her team.
Working from anywhere means having access to a workspace on demand wherever you are. This can be within 15 minutes of your home, or next to the holiday bungalow where you are spending a week away with your family. To facilitate work from anywhere, corporates need to support their workforce to find and book meeting spaces and/or desks wherever they are across a network of flexible and available workspaces.
Corporates can also benefit from facilitating the transition to a ‘working from anywhere’ culture. Having a distributed network of locations empowers organizations to make relevant choices for their own accommodation strategy. It removes the need to be tied down to long-term leases and reduces workspace overhead.
Last year has accelerated a transformation in our working culture. All over the world, employees and employers are embracing working from anywhere but there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ formula that can be easily adopted. Organizations need to explore what best fits their organizational and real estate needs. Something is clear, flexibility has knocked on our door and is here to stay.