The Future of Workspaces

Future of Workspaces

As we switch, again, from a working from home to a return to the office culture, some of our speakers share their thoughts on what the future workplace might look like and what it means for productivity, inclusivity and engagement.

The workplace environment has never faced such a compelling need to re-imagine its approach, with a need to remain appropriate and effective. Organisations can achieve that by working closely with employees to fully understand their needs and experience.

The Collaborative Space

Future workplaces look set to change forever as they become more about collaboration and connectivity and less about just being a place for performing a job. There has been much talk about ‘hub and spoke’ as a new office model, but surely this only works for larger organisations who can afford ‘spoke’ offices or if staff live near enough for them to be of value.

But we are definitely seeing a massive move to space that enables collaboration, sharing of ideas and socialising with colleagues.

Now more than ever, the workforce will feel the need for connectivity.

Becoming More Project Focused

Stephen Bevan from The Institute for Employment Studies believes that jobs will become more project/task orientated, and that organisations will need to define what jobs can be done where and differentiate between those that are time dependent and those which are location dependent.

Flexibility

Flexibility is most certainly here to stay and will be a fundamental part of the recruitment and retention package. Hybrid working, modified hours, different working patterns, have all become part of our new working life.

But Chief Workplace and Change Strategist at Gospace AI, Neil Usher, is optimistic that we will all have had enough of sitting at home in isolation although we can still maintain flexibility and choice, but just widen it, “they’re not opposites, as they’ve often been pitched, but complementary approaches to a fulfilling working life.”

Accessibility

Employees’ needs must be at the heart of new office designs.

QinetiQ’s Group Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Dr Sam Healy is concerned that whilst collaborative working and hot desking has many benefits, we need to consider the requirements of those who need special workplace adaptations such as screens, chairs and desks.

This may be less easy to provide in future workspaces.

Technology

Embracing the power of AI, Neil Usher believes it will totally “transform how technology effortlessly enables us to work together with the right people in the right place at the right time. It will pave the way for the re-emergence of the office as a hub of interaction and innovation, while enhancing freedom of choice of when, where and how to work.”

We have already experienced the vital role that technology plays in connecting and engaging a WFH workforce, but the true value of it is yet to come as we return to a completely new way of working.

Safety

Consideration still needs to be given to creating environments where staff feel safe and protected, whether that be improved ventilation and air quality monitoring, regular COVID testing and possibly the introduction of mandatory vaccinations.

We must get this right if we are to ensure business continuity.

Sustainability

Many offices are already on a trajectory to net zero but we still have a long way to go. Leadership must fully embrace eco changes if they are to create social impact and attract new talent. 

According to Usher, “the planet will no longer be an afterthought when it comes to workplace planning.  Our strategies will need to meet the needs of people, the organisation and the planet.  All at the same time.  All the time. That’s quite an ask.  It’s not a new idea, but if ever it was of a time, it’s now.”

Want to find out more about how you can ensure your workspace is fit for the future? Join us at Health and Wellbeing at Work in March

18 Conference Programmes. 180 Speakers. 12 Hours CPD Learning. 16 Successful Years!

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