No-one could have predicted how 2020 would unfold and, while dealing with the challenges that every global business has faced, we’ve taken the opportunity to continue with our ‘Rethinking Workplace’ programme.
Our latest report reveals an almost real-time benchmark of how perspectives are shifting as the pandemic situation evolves.
In June 2020 we surveyed 2,800 office workers in 11 European countries, the US and China and we’ll continue to monitor and understand changing behavioural trends.
This initiative is being undertaken in collaboration with workplace consultants, WKSpace, and we also organised remote focus groups with architects, designers and experts on workplace.
The office as a hub for collaboration
This period of forced isolation has left people craving connection and recognising the workplace as a much-needed hub. People now realise they are far more productive in the office.
Having experienced full-time home working, only 9% would choose to continue this arrangement moving forwards.
So, as a welcome return to office environments gets underway, what kind of space do workers want?
There has been a notable rise in the number of people preferring more traditional corporate (black steel and glass) office builds. Participants were also more drawn towards brightly themed spaces that reflect the culture of the business.
Office workers are also very clear about the fact that they want to be together. While the assumption may be that employees will seek separation in the interests of public health, the opposite is true.
‘Open plan’ design solutions have grown in popularity and staggeringly so in European markets. Perhaps because these layouts are more typically associated with collaborative working.
Even more flexibility, please
Again, the pandemic seems to have shifted opinions squarely in favour of ‘worklife’ - a more fluid way of managing our individual responsibilities that gives us more freedom to decide where, when and how we work.
This was particularly true in Europe, where over half of the respondents before lockdown thought this was a positive movement. Now, 79% are acknowledging the benefits of their work and home lives converging.
In China, this was as high as 81% and here over half (51%) are successfully ensuring their work life isn’t interfering with their free time.
We’re in this together
More than anything, it seems, people want to be with people. They crave connection and thrive given greater flexibility. While offices prepare for some degree of normality over the coming weeks and months, it has never been more timely to take a step back and ‘rethink workplace’.
As we continue to monitor the trends, we’ll report back on the headline stats that will help forward-thinking businesses shape more meaningful workplace experiences.
In the meantime, download our latest report for in-depth insights into the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on commercial office space.
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