Flexibility is about understanding needs
Above all, it is a challenge. It is a combination of many technical and technological solutions, but it mainly requires long-term planning towards multi-purpose spaces and solutions customised to individual companies and employees rather than offering a whole range of various spaces to choose from. An ideal office space should be easily adaptable to the changing environment and be suited to the specific preferences and working styles of all its users and teams in a company.
Designing a tailor-made and flexible work environment requires an understanding of how an entire organisation works while needs and expectations can be identified only by involving employees in co-creating their work environment and by taking account of their opinions to understand their working styles, plans, vision, complaints and new ideas. The report survey has revealed that most employee respondents expect to have social spaces for private and business meetings and for spending time together or relaxation.
The traditional office kitchen can be flexibly redesigned and customised to create a space that will serve as both a club café, an auditorium and a training place. It will be a multi-purpose venue allowing for efficient space utilisation. What matters is the concept, inspiration and joint action through involvement. The freedom of choice and autonomy in space co-designing will increase satisfaction with the end result and motivate employees to come to the office, work and spend time there.
“Workers who are allowed to choose when, where and how they work were happier in their jobs, performed better and considered their company to be more innovative in comparison with competitive firms that did not provide such choice,” says Magdalena Stańczuk, Senior Workplace Strategy Consultant, Cushman & Wakefield.
The future of the office
Covid-19 has boosted the popularity of the hybrid work model which combines work in various remote locations and in a typical office. However, this trend has not led to any major office downsizing. The changes taking place are generating new office requirements that have to be met to ensure organisational efficiency and employee satisfaction and motivation.
“As the number of permanent desks is being reduced, there is a growing need for increasing the number of meeting rooms, spaces for individual work, and expanding zones for informal meetings,” says Kacper Remiśko, Associate, Office Department, Cushman & Wakefield.
A new solution gaining traction is a kid’s play area where a parent can leave a child for the duration of work in the office. The period of enforced remote work has demonstrated that offices are absolutely essential for business development. In-office work supports effective management, team interaction and bonding; it also helps reflect the company’s organisational culture, which in turn allows for strengthening the corporate identity and inclusion. On the other hand, working from home as part of the hybrid work structure helps employees to reconcile work with other daily activities, which has a positive impact on their wellbeing.