It does not come as a surprise that homeworking has seen a substantial increase in 2020-2021. Newly published data from CIPD (2021) shows that the number of employees working completely from home has increased from 3% to 5%, and 10% report that they work from home to some extent. This current trend can be seen in most economically advanced countries and has been the main talking point within property management. Many are now visualizing a future where the office will be of less importance as things go back to normal again.
But what will the flexible working strategies mean for our offices? After all, CBRE (2020) found in their latest study that 73% of surveyed executives see flexible working environments as an intrinsic part of their future office strategies. When Mckinsey and Company (2021) considered this phenomenon, they found that 20-25% of the workforce would be able to work completely or partly from home, which represent a five time increase in remote work compared to pre-pandemic. It is evident that we are in for a big change, but why should we continue to view our office spaces as essential for our company and our employees?
There is a good reason.
JLL (2021) found that employees maintain a strong connection to the office even if they display willingness to work from home when restrictions loosen. The office seems to provide us with a sense of belonging, acting as a community where we can derive knowledge and support.
Savills Office FiT survey (2020) echo these findings. 89% of respondents believed that a physical office space would continue to be important even in the future. The increased isolation and loneliness which has been reinforced by the pandemic play an essential role in this line of thinking. Working from home can have harmful effects when lack in social connection manifest in decreased motivation, self-confidence, self-actualization, and overall happiness.
Our Office spaces may even be more important as we see flexible working entering the mainstream. Employees still believe that the office environment is the most beneficial environment for collaboration, team building, solving issues and more. The office can even act as a great tool to attract top talents and call for a strong corporate culture and loyalty.
So where do we go from here?
Flexible working is an effective way to mitigate the problems between, on one hand, resource surplus as more employees work partly from home, and on the other hand, allow employees to meet for collaboration in a shared location. You can read more about Flexible working here. Even though it can seem counterintuitive at a glance, CBRE (2020) report that a majority of executives do no longer see an office where assigned seats will be plausible, even though the pandemic has been characterized by security measures to decrease shared spaces to control potential spread of infection. The drive towards Hot desking, Desk hoteling and co-working spaces are likely to persist.
Creating a long-term property strategy post covid is essential in mitigating the effects of adapting a mobile workforce, if you are interested in which ways your office can adapt to flexible working, feel free to contact our experts.