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July 16, 2020

The end of the office? We don’t think so…

With so many of us now working from home and enjoying some of the benefits, like skipping the struggle of a morning commute – there have inevitably been questions raised about whether this pandemic spells the end of the office.

Of course it doesn’t – humans thrive on social interaction, and the thought of not stepping foot in an office again is incomprehensible for many of us.

It’s true that there will be less of a need for one desk per person or masses of meeting space, but we’re still going to rely on the office as a hub for our employees. An article recently written by Rory Sutherland and Matthew Lesh highlights some compelling points about the future of office life saying:

Covid-19 will change how humanity works. Lockdown has revealed that a large part of the busyness of business is driven by the need to signal commitment (presenteeism) rather than the creation of value.”

This got us thinking about why employees should continue to commute in every single day, when they could complete many of the same tasks (sometimes more productively) from the comfort of their own home. Not only could working from home regularly save employees time and money, but it also gives them the chance to spend more time focusing on things such as their well-being: fitness, friends, family and hobbies.

Sutherland and Lesh are bullish about what this pandemic might mean for the future of the office. They set out their vision for what a reimagined office might look like:

“Offices can become more campus-like: part coffee shop and bar for spontaneous meetings, meeting rooms for organized activities, and a library for those who need to concentrate – or escape their homes”.

We hope that by encouraging our clients to adopt a more ‘campus-like’ space in the future, people will treat their workplace as somewhere that is a pleasure to come to – while still benefitting from the increased flexibility of being able to stay at home when it makes sense to. With this new approach with less focus on cramming in the maximum number of workstations, offices can focus more on quality and well-being, whilst connecting people in a comfortable environment that boosts collaboration and productivity. The space would consist of less fixed workstations, and more adjustable desks, pods for privacy, and comfy casual seating.

Our interior design guru Marta highlighted one of her favourite elements of this reimagined office: the use of a large communal table so people can sit comfortably, share the space – and new ideas – together. Marta says:

“Even in an office full of desks, you can sometimes feel isolated because you have a dedicated space which you rarely divert from. The idea of having a large communal table is to encourage the office the be more collaborative and inclusive – something I’ve always been supporter of”.

We think the days where an office has rows of identical desks – and bags of underutilized space – may soon be over… and we’re not sad about it.

Our hope is that in the future, we may see more people going into the office because they want to collaborate in an environment that fosters teamwork, culture and creativity – not ‘just because they have to’.