Return to the office or not? What does the ideal workplace of the future look like in the near future?

8 Feb 2021

Last week Saskia wrote in a Blog about the ideal workplace of the future, what does it look like in the near future? Almost every week you see articles popping up about expected scenarios about the future of working in the office. But who actually determines the ideal office / work strategy and what are the expected factors that play a role in this choice for the future? Twice has responded to this and offers flexible options for high tech companies.

Various surveys are conducted among office workers about desired situations. But who actually determines the ideal office / work strategy? What are expected factors that play a role in this choice for the future? And are differences in target groups to be expected? A good time to take a look at this issue.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020, much of the country has been glued to work at home at the kitchen table. With or without children learning at home. Not an ideal situation. Working from home has advantages and disadvantages. According to Vastgoedmarkt, it appears at the end of January that almost 75% of employees want to continue working from home full-time, or almost full-time after the pandemic. This emerged from a survey by market researcher Telecompaper, who surveyed 1,250 employees. Some employees miss nothing at the office and are happy at home, others miss the delicious lunch, coffee or travel allowance. Less travel time and a better work / life balance are real benefits. But there are certainly disadvantages to working from home for a long time. In MT's whitepaper we read that people miss the bond with the office; maintaining commitment and a good team is much more difficult at a distance. Loneliness can also play a role, not everyone has people around them at home as an outlet. One of the biggest drawbacks may be the longer - and digital days. Bloomberg researched that the working day is on average 48 minutes longer with many (online) meetings. Actual productivity can be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage; where one person gets more done at home, another has difficulty with concentration or discipline to actively work behind the kitchen table.

Most trends predict that a hybrid form is most likely to be expected. Facto stated in an article last month that the office is not dead. People expect home working to remain an important part, it will not be either / or but and / and. The role of the office will certainly change, but the big question for entrepreneurs remains: how exactly?

Who determines the new work strategy?

A combination of organizational aspects is expected to determine what the future in the office will look like. The HR departments, the IT departments and the facility managers all have their own role in the future use of the office. All have a certain role in the choice and rollout of the future scenario.

In the case of structural homeworking, the ICT department must provide a well-equipped home workplace, equipped with the right hardware, software and tools to enable proper remote work. Also consider the security of your company data. You must also be able to safely access all the data that you need to do your work from home.

Team HR lays down the rules for working from home, including an ergonomically responsible workplace by Arbo. Do not underestimate the financial impact of this: the benefits in kind must fit within the Work Costs Regulation, otherwise you will pay considerable tax as an employer.

Maintaining contact within the team is a factor that also requires attention: how do you keep in touch with each other, how often are meetings planned and how do you make agreements with each other. A homework contract is not a bad idea when it comes to structural working from home.

As IT and HR, it is also important to ensure that employees actually get all the necessary equipment in practice to do their work properly. Otherwise, all preparations will have been in vain.

Finally, the facility manager also has a say. CBRE predicted a change in office needs. Among other things, the study predicted that “the end of permanent workplace presence will contribute to productivity growth and personal creativity” and that “almost all employees will be mobile and need a network of locations to be as productive and engaged as possible. to be". The crisis has made us think more quickly about why and when we go to the office. The new patterns of office use that will arise may mean that some organizations need less, more spread out or a different form of office space (sub-office, workplace, project space, etc.).

Which factors can play a role in the choice?

1. Costs: The travel allowance and home office costs

Deloitte clearly indicates the impact of the change in the daily travel pattern to the office. Working from home at 100% no longer involves commuting. As a result, the regular travel allowance can be discontinued depending on agreements. On the other hand, working from home also results in costs and you can transfer to a working from home allowance. It is possible to continue to pay the travel allowance, but that can also have an impact on the exemption. So take a good look at the impact of this.

2. Work / life balance in flexible working

The balance between working from home and office use differs per organization and function. Depending on technical and financial possibilities, a choice must be made here. With the long period of working from home, the employee has experienced that working without traffic jams and (depending on the children running around at home) in a quiet environment may lead to higher productivity. On the other hand, some also experience stress, long working days and a disturbed work / private balance. The (im) possibilities to organize everything properly partly determines the success of a hybrid working method if you want to make working from home part of your work strategy.

3. Office facilities

Safety is one of the most important factors: is there good ventilation, can we keep a distance? Are there enough m2 available to work safely in the same space? With enough space, colleagues can meet each other safely and pleasantly at the office. Is cleaning properly arranged so that colleagues can use the same workplaces.

Technology is another factor to consider. Because people continue to work partly from home, it must be possible to maintain interaction with these colleagues. So there is a greater need for meeting rooms when half of the people work in the office and the other half at home. In addition, the tools at home are also needed to work well together remotely. There are enough partners in the market who can support this. Accessibility and availability is another factor. With the advent of new work strategies and generations, offices must not only be available at standard times, but 24/7.

4. The organization ambition: role, layout and location of the office

The office is more often used as a meeting hub, which means that the layout will also play a role. It may be the place to meet, or to work in silence.

Where that office is located can also be decisive: geographically close to the home of your employees, spread across the country, or close to your most important cooperation partners or customers. Now may be the time to opt for several small flexible meeting locations at multiple hotspots, where employees can work in varied teams, close to home. Good for the (project) team spirit, productivity and possibly costs. In Business Insider we read that the demand for flex office spaces will only increase as a result of Covid-19. Moreover, according to this article, people also want to work in a building where like-minded people are. That does not have to be just your own colleagues: it is good to work in a community of peers, as you see in high tech by theme, for example.

5. Company culture: what do you want to radiate

It has long since become known that an office can be a mirror to your corporate culture. It is not only a place to work and meet, but often also a location where customers are received, and a business space shapes the desired way of working in your organization. How you organize work has an impact both inside and outside the organization.

Differences in target groups

Lifecycle of your company

Depending on the life stage of your company, you may have a different need for workspace. Are you starting with a virtual office for a postal address, do you need a flex desk, a workplace, an office for one or more days, a shared office or a flexible office? For example, there are various options for startups, scaleups and larger companies. If you have an image of the desired size and flexibility, you can search.

Different branches

Working from home is not possible in all sectors. According to Statistics Netherlands, most home workers work in these sectors: education, information & communication, Finance, energy or business services.

Different generations

Different generations, different wishes: age groups think differently about working from home. It is wise to also take into account the specific wishes of your own employee population. In the HP report we read that the wishes are changing: people live longer, retire later. Women are working more and you have the latest generations Y and Z to hit the market. Each group has its own wishes with regard to work, work location, tools and work-life balance. 86% of managers indicate that technology will have a greater impact on employee engagement. According to Randstad, millennials will make up 75% of the working population by 2030, which is good to take these wishes into account.

How do you determine the ideal work strategy: tips for consideration

The success of an organization is partly determined by the harmony in the workplace. A pleasant working environment supports the business activities. A working environment where employees feel good and are motivated is important.

1. In order to draw up an ideal picture for your own organization, it is important to look at, among other things:

- The occupancy rate. The occupancy rate measurement (Heyday) can help with this.

- The relationship mix: who works together and when.

- The activity mix: what kind of activities take place in a day.

2. Take a good look at who your target group is at the office. The choice of a location has an effect on employee engagement.

3. Be inspired by others. Various master classes are organized on the ideal work strategy. Individual factors play a role per organization, so you determine an ideal advice yourself based on the decisive factors for you.

4. Schedule a reference visit to a company in a similar industry, discuss what they are doing.

5. Check the options with flex providers. Some providers respond to flexible working by offering new concepts at the office. For meeting, workplace use or flexible small-scale use of an office. Smaller offices can provide support in flexibility, concentration, well-being and collaboration.

6. View the notice period for a possible new business space. With a flexible short notice period you can try again.

7. Consider who you would like to work with or who you would like to meet in the workplace. Communities can potentially strengthen innovation for your own organization.

Nice to conclude with the title of a report from HP on the future: PREPARE NOW OR RISK BEING RUN OVER TOMORROW

Possibilities that Twice offers

Since last year, in addition to flexible offices and lab spaces at 4 (now 5) hotspots, Twice also offers virtual offices, an office for a fixed day, or permanent workplaces for high-tech companies, from start-up, scale-up to international branch offices. All very flexible, in the beautiful Brainport region with a lively ecosystem. You can work on location safely, close to home, or on a project basis. Possibly a great idea to create an external innovation hub for your company here! Curious about the possibilities? Check the website or call or email us for a no-obligation visit or conversation.

Written by
Corinne Moerman

marketing & communicatie

Corinne Moerman
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