For the last 1.5 years, those of us used to working in office spaces have been participating in a global experiment of remote working. What we managed to see is that a lot of the work previously classed as ‘impossible to do remotely’ is actually doable! A lot of companies and employees noticed that one can do their own job - or majority of it from home or restrictions-permitting anywhere else.
Work is crap, right?
For many people, this is an uncontentious statement. According to Gallup, hardly anyone is fully engaged in their work whilst half of employees would change their job tomorrow, and a sizeable number would even take a pay cut to escape their boss. Toxic workplaces and terrible bosses are the norm rather than the exception.
We need to do something, and urgently. We need to decrapify work. But what would a decrapified workplace look like?
"How do we get started with hybrid working?" and "When can we go back to work, back to the office, back to business as usual?" These questions are on the lips of many. While many are (and have been) eager to see restrictions lifted, we must remain patient, and this time around – think and plan ahead. One step and stage at a time - the social, physical and digital workplace need to realign with a new way of working.
Over a year into the pandemic, some voices are still calling for "getting back to work" - as if their staff has been doing something other than work, in the past year. Presenteeism and outdated controlling attitudes, that before have driven people daily into the office under the watchful eyes of managers, are now being challenged by new "hybrid working" models, "work-from-anywhere" policies and "activity-based office" designs. In his blog, Michal Matlon talks about the importance of a culture of trust; and how privacy, distraction-free spaces and different mindscapes can bring out the best out of an organization that does brainwork. It's all about autonomy, flexibility, choice and psychological safe zones.
We are now over a year into a pandemic-induced workplace (r)evolution. To no one’s surprise, views on the role of the office are still polarized. Within commercial real estate, many corporate leaders are hoping for a return to old ways of working. However, inflection points are simply part of life. Covid-19 is a huge inflection point for the office world. Now it’s the customer, both tenant companies and end-users who are in the spotlight, who will have their turn to write the next chapter of what it means to “go” to work. For those whose income and business model is tied to supplying or servicing the world of offices, a beginner’s mindset has become necessary, to survive.
The only thing certain is an uncertain future – especially in today’s marketplace and digitized, global business world. Not only technological disruption can take you by surprise, but increasingly so changes in national and global politics, legislation, economy and effects from climate change. And as we have recently witnessed, the effects from public health hazards. In a world like that, we need a higher degree of adaptability and resilience for sustainable success.