The Executive Centre examines the past, present, and the future of an office in a white paper, and has revealed that flexibility and sustainability will be key concepts of the future workplace.
A brief history of the modern office:
TEC pinpointed the drivers of change from past to present to the need to improve efficiency with logistics and communication, an increase in outsourcing as transportation, globalisation and infrastructure improvement around the world, advances in digital, wireless, and automation technologies, and an overall growth in economies and value in personal quality of life.
In the past year, the flexible workplace provider said they have witnessed a surging need for more flexible lease terms, robust technological infrastructure and internet connectivity for virtual get-togethers, as well as spacious event venues to host socially distanced conferences, and even on-demand passes to support their remote working teams.
The white paper points out that while flexibility will be spearheading workplace transformation, an element of sustainability or "green office" will likely prevail in the future workplace. This is due to the growing awareness of individual's collective impact and relationship with the environment, whether as an individual, a society or a business.
“The break from office has pushed people to reconsider what they require to create a positive working environment. People are waking up to the fact that an office should be more than four walls around a desk – it's a space which fosters collaboration, communication and creativity,” said Paul Salnikow, TEC founder and CEO.
“While human interaction proves to be crucial for work and life, people are also keen to enjoy variety in work options, the future of work is shifting from purely remote to a hybrid model. Flexibility is key in future workplace strategies because choice has become an invaluable asset. People want to choose to access workstations, meeting rooms and breakout areas when they need it, and corporations are realising that incorporating a flexible element can also positively impact their bottom line.”
Five key factors influencing business operations in the future:
A more fluid workforce
Flexible working will become more widespread after the pandemic. This will create a more fluid workforce and lead to greater acceptance of varied working styles and locations.
Options to scale up and down
Businesses will look for more flexible workspaces as a means to mitigate headcount volatility, test growth, and access ready space on short notice.
To accommodate for social distancing protocols and increasing the agility and mobility of their workforces, flexible workspace solutions will provide hubs as they spread their workforce across locations.
Fit-out cost avoidance
Occupiers are looking to preserve capital and evade high upfront fit-out expenses, preferring to use capital for operational expenditure. A more minimal approach towards design may be in store for office spaces looking to minimise capital expenditure costs, or incorporating flexible workspaces that are furnished and ready to move into corporate real estate (CRE) strategies.
Risk mitigation strategies
Occupiers will look towards reconstructing how their workforce operates and deciding which of their talents can remote work, hybrid work or fully operate onsite. In doing so occupiers make greater use of co-working space or serviced or virtual offices as part of their business continuity planning (BCP).