While remote work has allowed employees schedule flexibility, cost and time savings, and ease of mind during the pandemic, it has posed many challenges for the office. While many people have adjusted to remote work, the traditional office still has many benefits including relationship building and teamwork opportunities, employee well-being, minimized distractions, and ease of communication. The reality of a post-COVID world is that work, and the nature of work, will never be the same. While the office may not go away completely, I believe it will look and operate differently.
Here are four ways I see the office changing in a post-COVID world:
- The Hybrid Working Model: According to Slack's Future Forum Research, 72% of employees would prefer a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. Because of the new-found benefits of working from home along with the value that working in an office environment brings, I believe that many companies will start to employ a hybrid working model within their offices. While talking with some of our customers, I have identified that a major value that has come out of this past year is the focus on flexibility—especially within work environments and experiences. Employees splitting their time between home and traditional offices means a flux in necessary resources, space, and workforce density within the office.
- The Workplace as a Commodity: Where previously working from the office was an understood expectation, I believe in a post-COVID world it will serve as a destination or commodity, reserved for special meetings, collaborative experiences, or team building. This might mean reshaping work environments to meet changing needs or rolling out a planning and scheduling software for meeting rooms and workspaces.
- Focus on Safety: Even post-COVID, the focus on hygiene, safety, and employee trust will be core to building safe and energizing work environments. This might translate into proactive workspace management, cleanliness and sanitation tracking, or contact and space tracing.
- Embracing Technology: Throughout COVID, companies have implemented and adopted technology at an unprecedented speed. A survey from McKinsey & Company found that COVID-19 has sped the adoption of digital technologies by several years, with many of these changes set to continue long after COVID ends. Technology has allowed companies to adjust to multiple modes of work while overcoming many challenges. Video conferencing solutions, cloud-based file structure, audio and video office systems, streaming capabilities—this focus on technology and bridging the gap between the home and office will continue. In the same survey, McKinsey & Company found that more than half of executives are investing in technology to obtain a competitive advantage and refocus their business around digital technologies.
As leaders, it's up to us to make sure our teams have the right tools in place to collaborate and be productive, whether that's at home, in the office, or both.
Are you unsure of where to get started? Our team is here to help. As AV experts, we've helped countless customers optimize their office spaces with new technology. Whether it's implementing room scheduling software or increasing the quality of your audio and video streaming, we're here to help!