What’s the future of office work in a post-COVID-19 world? Collier’s global experience survey engaged 5,000 respondents in 25 countries and concluded that the office is not dead despite the COVID-19 pandemic. But this is no surprise. Our first-hand experience and conversations with our member companies support this statement. Offices are here to stay in 2020 and beyond.
Yet, the workspace is likely to change in its functionality and size both in the short and medium to long-term. Here’s what you need to know.
The rise of the home office
A substantial number of businesses were forced to encourage work from home since COVID-19’s global spread in 2020. Despite the various challenges posed, companies have proved surprisingly resilient in quickly supporting the shift.
But is the home office transition here to stay post-COVID-19? Let’s look at the numbers:
Before COVID-19 only 5.2% of the employed people aged 15-67 worked from home in the European Union after COVID-19 82% want to work 1 day a week or more from home.
Yet, the data shows that respondents still need offices to collaborate and connect. Technology is not able to replicate the richness of in-person interaction, so traditional office spaces will be here to stay.
At Campus X, we have surveyed our members and conversed on what they missed the most, as they stood confined to their homes.
It was the interaction with like-minded people they missed the most. Collaboration and innovation go hand in hand. Meaningful interactions help companies acquire talent and know-how. And this is what makes all the difference.
The office as a key collaboration space
"The office is not dead, in fact, the opposite is expected. Offices will become more vibrant and more collaborative than ever,” the Colliers survey finds out.
Catalyst for innovation
Did you know that traditional offices were designed in the dawn of the industrial revolution with the pure goal of optimizing administrative tasks? But the office space has transformed throughout the years. Today most companies have moved away from control and efficiency and started focusing on collaboration and innovation.
In fact, spontaneous interaction between different people has often led to successful innovations and collaborations (also known as serendipity). And even sophisticated and constantly evolving technologies like Zoom and Teams can’t replace the human contact.
Need for meaningful social contact
It’s no surprise that during lockdown people miss the most the interaction and in-person connection in the physical office.
“I'm a strong advocate for remote/flexible work and believe that distributed is the future of work. However, I also know from first-hand experience that working remotely from home can get really, really lonely. This is why an authentic, real-life social connection with a community of like-minded people is extremely important for me, comments Tina Kesova, Marketing Director at Codeable, and a Campus X member.
“It is one of the main reasons I choose to work from a managed office space in the first place. This is exactly what I've been missing the most during the months of social distancing: the random afternoon discussions over a cup of coffee with fellow members, the member breakfasts, the lunches at the Campus restaurant, or just the opportunity to pick someone's brain for quick advice on a problem I'm working on,” she adds.
Last but not least, working outside the office is usually full of distractions – represented by the endless list of house chores or the people you live with. Focusing on the work tasks might be tough if you lack a secluded and quiet space, where to isolate yourself.
Most remote workers agree that making key business calls at home is a challenge, especially if they have kids, a spouse, or a roommate who oversteps work boundaries. We asked some of our members how working from home affects their productivity, here’s what they shared:
“For me personally, working from home was never really an option and the office is of great importance for my work-life balance. The office is where I am the most motivated and composed. When the COVID-19 situation started, I found it really challenging to work from home as I never considered home a place for work. There are too many distractions, background noise, and let’s be honest, you check the fridge every 30 minutes, says Andrey Bankovski, Director, Business Development at our member company Payhawk. He adds:
“On a more serious note, for me, personal interactions are vital considering the fact that I am in Sales. One of the major challenges was the effective communication with the team. I am very grateful that the Campus X team did their utmost to allow us back in the office so soon. Our internal policy at Payhawk is th