I regularly discuss commercial real estate trends and office space decisions with executives, and this is the crucial question that many companies are grappling with right now. The answer is yes– as long as your space is ready to adapt to meet new needs.
Nearly a year into the great remote work experiment brought on by COVID, it’s clear the office as we once knew it has changed. No longer is the office simply a place where work gets done– it’s transforming into a dynamic hub for company culture building, team collaboration, and community.
Here’s how your company can capitalize on three key CRE trends and drive long-term business success.
Collaboration takes center stage.
For many companies and employees, the transition to remote work has been a bumpy one. One of the biggest challenges has been ensuring all employees have access to the tools they need to be productive, often through cloud-based systems.
Collaborative workstations are essential for companies moving to a hybrid work model, where some employees are remote and others are in person. In the physical workspace, this means equipping conference rooms and team rooms with the technology necessary for virtual meetings and work sessions that integrate on-site and remote employees.
For remote employees, companies are exploring solutions that recreate the workplace virtually. At Lucas Group, we’re partnering with Dell on a solution that allows employees to start a virtual discussion or call from within the platform they’re using, like the finance and HR planning system
Prioritize community and connection.
Remote employees are more likely to feel socially isolated and disengaged. While it may be months before companies are ready to reopen full-time for in-person work, savvy businesses are already rethinking current office layouts to address these engagement challenges.
When safe to do so, companies are using their large, open spaces to host socially-distanced meetings and gatherings. Post-COVID, expect this trend to continue as companies maximize space utility to support team building, camaraderie and community.
That front desk reception area? It’s now a social hub with a bar. A receptionist becomes a culture ambassador who greets people and sets the tone for an employee or client’s experience in the workspace. Those stationary dry erase boards? They’re now mobile smart boards that easily go wherever the team is meeting and may even share notes virtually in real-time.
Rather than simply being a place to “do work,” the office is becoming more of a “clubhouse”– a central place where remote employees gather and company culture comes to life. From company colors on the wall to team pictures to the overall design aesthetic, employees feel like they’re immersed in their company’s culture, strengthening engagement.
Optimize space for a hybrid workforce.
The majority of employees don’t want to work remotely full-time. Rather than a fully remote future, we’ll have a hybrid workforce where employees may work from home several days per week and come into the office for team meetings, collaboration sessions and skill training. This means rethinking traditional office layouts to bring creator flexibility and functionality to the space.
In the past, many companies maintained a 1:1 ratio between employees and workstations. Now, this ratio is shifting to accommodate employees on rotating schedules, such as one workstation for every two or three employees. Not only does this support immediate needs for social distancing, but it also prepares companies for the future hybrid workforce.
Is your business rethinking its office layout? Share how you’re innovating your space in the comments below.