Article by David Bricknell – Managing Director at Dale Office Interiors
10th January 2022
Let’s address the main question right off the bat, yes the office still has a purpose in the modern world of work and most certainly isn’t dead. The role the office plays hasn’t changed but the emphasis has shifted away from tasked based working to creative, innovative work, and a space that understands its value to the cultural, social and human elements that inevitably drives businesses forwards. The office is the binding agent that facilitates the business and cultural change.
If you trying to understand the office’s role in your organisation post-pandemic, don’t worry your not alone. We are finding that many organisations are trying to find their feet in the post-pandemic world in which we now live.
Here are our top 5 reasons why the the office has a purpose in the modern age!
Everyone of our clients over the past 18 months has mentioned how the office is a cultural hub, whether the office is just the next step that strengthens strong cultural values, or a new business looking to develop a cultural identity, it is the town hall of the working environment, that aligns your people with the business and each other, facilitating micro-moments of connection that build trust, rapport and goodwill within your organisation that makes people inevitably go the extra mile for each other and for the business.
The collaborative aspect of work has been difficult over the past year and I think everyone on this call has missed the ability during lockdowns to get people around a table to solve a problem or sound ideas off. Ideas sharing has had to be via a pre-planned zoom call, its not been spontaneous, it’s not being over heard by a passing team member making a brew, who adds that intangible value to an idea in its infancy.
It goes hand in hand with the idea of building those organisational cultures, every space we have ever created in our 30+ years has had elements built in to nurture collaborative creativity and innovative thinking. But since the pandemic and the way we are re-assessing how we work, the focus and need and value for spaces to support innovative creative thinking in the form of collaborative social spaces, are so key. These zones in a hybrid working style environment bring your employees together to connect and share, if people are working from home 2-3 days in that week these areas become even more important. They are the reason to come to the office to share ideas, solve problems write on white boards, place sticky notes on walls whilst enthusing and animating others.
Connection and belonging although one of the most difficult things to quantify its one of those sometimes hidden benefits, as people don’t usually like to express personal feelings in the work environment, but we have to understand that we all crave some kind of social connection, we want to belong to something, even if it’s just for a day a week, the routine of leaving the house and connecting with others can be important. In a survey last year commissioned by Total Jobs, 74% of young workers said they had experienced loneliness during lockdown.
We have seen many businesses where one of the main comments has been its great to be back in the office with my colleagues my friends, we have to understand that the office can play a key wellbeing role just as much as the choice of working remotely can.
This is one element that many media reports and many of our clients have fedback on and have suggested it to be one of the biggest challenges during home working, from both a business and employee point of view. Integrating people into a business, a new team is difficult at the best of times, but remotely, this becomes infinitely more difficult. If you think about how you learn, its from others, you pick up approaches, techniques from things you see and overhear, you ask questions, you build cultural connections and you develop, learn and grow, and this continues for months and years after that individuals first day with the business.
I like to think of the office as a conduit that enables knowledge transfer and exchange within an organisation, in both direct and indirect ways, and its those indirect transfers of knowledge that should not be overlooked.
Celebrating achievement, one of those aspect of work that we sometimes we don’t miss until its not there, that celebration of success, personal or shared where as a group we celebrate the hard work that has gone into achieving a sales goal, a new starters first tea round, or something bigger like a organisations quarterly get together/team building session. The office will become the centre of team building days instead of a team day out it’s a day where everyone comes to the office, it’s a destination.
We are creating offices for clients with spaces that enable them to hold internal events, with Gin bars social areas, to celebrate and build office culture and that connection between employees. Everyone likes to feel like they are contributing to success, and the acknowledgement of that is key, to enthuse individuals to reach the next goal.
We say great meetings as we mean meetings that would be enhanced by being in person rather than in front of a screen. That could be with people within the business but also external clients, the office is still an extension of your brand, it needs to communicate your values. We have clients that when given the choice of whether we go to the their office to meet they ask if they can come to us, as they want get break away from their day to day, they want visit other places other people again, and you want to be able to invite and greet them to a space that enhances your business story and not one that you don’t want them to see.
By adopting a more agile approach to your workplace and culture, you can reduce overall office operating costs, while simultaneously reaping the benefits of a more happy and fulfilled workforce.
Modern businesses are increasingly considering ditching the standard in favour of more dynamic, agile spaces – which aim to utilise the office space to its full potential – down to every last square foot
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