What does the office of tomorrow look like?
That’s the question we’ve been asking since 2019. Firstly in those pre-Covid days, then in the midst of the virus, and now again, for a third time, in what we hope to look back on as the beginning of a post-pandemic UK.
What are we asking, and why?
Our Future Workspaces project started as a mission to truly understand what the perfect office space should look like. We asked questions about commuting, work-life balance, pool tables in offices, and a small, seemingly minor, dive into remote and home working.
We spoke to employees and workers, but also employers, leaders, architects, developers, and office builders. The end goal of the project was to put together an evidence-based toolkit, so that offices and workplace cultures could be designed with intent.
Then, Covid-19 struck, and the office disappeared overnight.
As the world responded to the impact of the virus, and workers were mandated to work from home wherever possible, we changed our angle. Annoyance with the commute faded into the rear view. There was a much bigger environment to consider.
- Now that employers have seen that remote working works, what was the future for commercial property and large scale offices?
- With staff confined to home and unable to access their usual support networks, what would the impact on wellbeing and productivity be?
- With furlough and redundancies in play, would a new job economy spring up from an employment world without borders?
You can find the answers to those questions by downloading our Future Workspaces report.
So what now?
At the time of writing, more than two-thirds of the UK population has received their first dose of the vaccine. A third is fully vaccinated with their second dose, and the economy is beginning to come back to life. Retail has reopened, restaurants and bars are able to welcome customers back to outdoor areas, and in a few weeks, hopefully, they will be allowed inside. Crucially, many of us are back in the office or discussing the logistics of being back.
Now, for the first time, we can look backwards as well as forwards.
We have more than a year of restrictions behind us, and we have all learnt new things about ourselves, our colleagues, and our employers. We have a better idea of what work could be like – what we miss about it, and what we never want to have to do again.
We have now finished running our Future Workspaces survey for the third time, to gather more intelligence and keep that toolkit for employers fresh with up-to-date thinking. Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey.