The new phrase I am hearing from COO's in Law Firms is 'Hybrid Working'.
Firms are now forecasting and modeling how offices will be used post crisis. Recent research of office workers across 10 countries had 72% say that they wanted to remain home working for 2 days a week post Covid and those spending 3-4 days at home were 15% more satisfied with their job than those who went into work every day.
This Hybrid of workplace and homework will throw up some interesting challenges: for instance, how to manage desk allocation and the forecast increase in meeting room space that will be required to enable the continuation of the Zoom/Teams driven productivity we have all experienced.
Over the past 6 months our R&D teams have been working on a number of pilots and workforce roll outs which signpost what I believe will become the norm.
Here are a few insights:
- Employees will want to match their environment to the work that needs to be achieved.
For instance super quiet space for important "set piece" chunks of work. That may be your home but equally if you have a house full of toddlers or it's during the school holidays then the office will be preferable.
- Maximizing the space you have by making it easy for people to book.
A Desk booking project we are working on managing 3000 desks and 500 meeting rooms has demonstrated the advantages of a 24 hour "Maitre D" function sitting above the automated self-serve technology that enables quick cancellation, complex multi bookings, integration into desk delivered catering and instant access to key business services. This "restauranting" of space has smoothed over the rigidity of the technologies employed and maximized the usability of a smaller space for their more agile workforce.
- Seeing the office as a place to meet, socialise and create not just a place where you have to turn up every day to do your work.
A number of our clients have used the Pandemic to radically re-function their existing workspace creating zones that foster creativity, community and wellbeing.
The booking and management of these new areas are where we have been investing in the technologies, people and processes that drive their efficient use.
The office is not dead, in fact, some of our customers are committing to more space not less. With the prospect of life retuning to more recognizable norms I see more creative, flexible and enjoyable use of the office.
Let's face it, the minute we don't have to go there any more we will certainly want to go there more often.