Quiet zones, Zoom pods and Wednesday site visits as firms rethink office for hybrid future
Six in ten companies no longer view offices as the face of their company, citing a firm’s technology and experience as the most important windows into their business.
This is one of the findings of a new report by office solutions provider Poly, which paints a picture of corporate world that, while understanding the benefits of hybrid working, is still grappling with how this translates in terms of work processes and office design.
Poly’s Recruit, Retain and Grow quizzed over 2,500 business decision makers across the globe on the current state of their hybrid work policies, as well as looking at the future design plans for their office space.
As the world gears up for a return to work, for most of us, this equates to three weekly visits to the office according to the report. Over 80% of organisations in total were found offer some degree of flexibility – with Wednesday cited as the most popular day to visit the office.
While 64% of organisations no longer view the office the main part of the company’s brand identity, the survey found that the pandemic is forcing firms to rethink or redesign their workspaces.
Visits to the office, the survey predicts, will become purpose‐driven affair: attending a meeting, brainstorming, collaboration and having access to appropriate technology.
Almost 80% of respondents said that they were planning to redesign their office, with more open plan areas (36%), collaboration spaces (36%), quiet zones (31%) and areas to socialize (28%).
Organizations added that they were also investing, or planning to invest, in technologies to improve employee experience, including collaboration software such as Teams or Zoom (92%); Cloud applications (92%); Headsets (89%) and Cameras (86%).
“The fact that so many companies are redesigning their offices suggests we are about to witness a seismic shift in the role of the office,” said Paul Clark EMEA managing director at Poly.
“Organisations have to offer employees an incentive for going into the office, and we’re seeing that creating more open-plan areas, collaboration spaces and areas to unwind are high on the list of priorities for many companies,” he added.
However, while employers appear to be clear on the benefits of working remotely some of the time – with 72% of firms reporting an increase in productivity since initiating hybrid work – around half (48%) admitted that they were not yet prepared for the long-term future of hybrid working.
The survey suggests that the reason for this may be that just over half of all the employers interviewed still believe that hybrid working is a blip, and they were looking forward to a time when everyone returned to the office. While a fifth of employers are still requiring their staff to return to the office full time.
Clark warned that this thinking might lose firms valuable talent and advised that those who are able balance both the virtual and office experience will be best positioned to retain talent, grow their business, keep culture, and be more productive.
“Companies are aware that their hybrid work strategy is key to retaining and attracting talent. While business continuity was the focus for many companies when the pandemic first hit, they must now focus on creating a hybrid work environment that puts employees first, or risk losing them to competitors,” he said.
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