At the beginning of July, an international group specialising in IT products inaugurated its new premises, designed with the ambition of offering a continuum between the teleworking experience and the office experience. Almost two thirds of the space is dedicated to collaboration: co-creation rooms, modular areas where employees can brainstorm, for example, or meet in project teams. The rest of the spaces are dedicated to offices organised by areas of expertise.
This example illustrates the way in which many companies are learning from the crisis to invent other ways of working, by articulating work lifetimes – in the home office or in the office, and by reinventing the experience offered to their employees. In any case, there is no question of giving up investing in offices, on the contrary: the crisis has confirmed the need for interactions and exchanges “IRL” (In real life).
1 – Focus on conviviality and well-being
Workspaces are still the place to be for formal but also informal meetings: it’s all about making employees want to come back to the office and enjoy using the space with their colleagues – and not just their own team. Do you have space freed up by the introduction of the flex office or the widespread use of teleworking? They can be used to become spaces for conviviality and relaxation, or rooms dedicated to work groups mobilised by cross-functional issues. The idea is to offer spaces that are in phase with the diversity of moments experienced by an employee, by providing the configuration best suited to his or her immediate.
Warm lights, coloured walls, comfortable equipment, plants… Taking more care with office furnishings pays off. Additional services, such as a concierge service, are also appreciated, as are digital solutions designed to make their lives easier – for example, applications for reserving a parking space.
2 – Meeting the need for agility
Beyond a “simple” improvement in the comfort of the working environment and the services offered, several surveys conducted among employees reveal new expectations; among these, it is the search for agility that is favoured today: “I need a meeting room for an hour, then I want to occupy an office space to make progress on a file, before leading a conference call in an equipped and soundproof booth, then ending my day in a coworking space…”. The offices must therefore offer the possibility of moving from one space to another, open or partitioned, with the appropriate equipment.
This expectation reveals a transformation in thinking about the design of workspaces: they adapt to the individual and not the other way around. To facilitate this dynamic and avoid frustration, it is in your interest to have a digital space reservation platform with real-time availability.
3 – Playing the collective card
In the post-crisis era, offices are expected to become places of collective intelligence. This trend, which was already underway before the pandemic, is now in full swing. And there are many possibilities: collaborative spaces with varying degrees of formality in their use but equipped with all the communication and project management technologies; furniture that can be moved and transformed; walls and partitions that can be used as paper boards; digital rooms equipped with touch screens to display the progress of projects…
Stimulating and flexible group workspaces will contribute to the creativity of your teams. This is an opportunity to launch internal innovation challenges around the company’s project or a CSR (corporate social and environmental responsibility) approach, to motivate and unite the troops.
4 – Leveraging a hybrid work environment
Even employees are not mistaken. As a recent study by the solutions provider Citrix reveals, one third of them (including almost one in two young people aged between 18 and 24) think that companies will invest more in creating a hybrid working environment. Modular spaces and multi-use furniture are two examples, but it is digital that is opening up the playground.
With some employees teleworking and others in the office, the manager will appreciate a room dedicated to hybrid meetings (both physical and virtual) and equipped with the technology to exchange and share ideas and files remotely. These visual management spaces offer a real continuity between home office and office activities, the kind of continuity that is nowadays invited in the design of company premises.
Multiburo has been supporting companies of all sizes in new ways of working for over 35 years. With 25 locations in the heart of major cities and high-speed train stations, our flexible workspaces offer the possibility to work where you want, how you want, when you need. Companies adopt a more flexible organisation and are free to modulate offices, coworking, meetings, relaxation and conviviality areas, and teleworking, both upwards and downwards, according to the evolution of their activity.