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The New Office Is An Ecosystem of Workspaces and Experiences

Posted by: | Posted on: May 29, 2020

Unquestionably, COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we work and our concept of the workplace. But the question that businesses are now wrestling with is, how those changes will affect offices as they reopen?

Real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield recently published The Future of Workplace, surveying more than 40,000 people globally about their work experiences during the pandemic to assess how employees are coping and what the new normal will look like. (The respondents represent approximately 30 companies across nearly 20 industries.)

The upshot: Employees are adjusting well to working from home and their productivity levels remain surprisingly high. However, as businesses reopen, the future workplace will no longer be limited to a single place; instead, it will be an ecosystem of various locations and experiences.

Here are some of the key findings:

  1. Productivity can occur anywhere, not just at the office:
  • Pre-COVID-19, remote workers were more engaged and had a better workplace experience than office workers
  • During the pandemic, effective team collaboration has reached new heights through better leverage of remote collaborative technology
  1. Employees want flexibility and remote work choices:
  • 73% of the workforce say companies should allow working from home
  • However, employees say they miss human connection and social bonding
  • Younger generations are reporting more challenges working from home
  1. The new normal – A Total Workplace Ecosystem:
  • The workplace will no longer be a single location. It will be an ecosystem of a variety of locations and experiences that support convenience, functionality and wellbeing
  • The new purposes of offices: strengthen cultural connection, learning, bonding with customers and colleagues, and support innovation
  • Current footprint sizes will remain steady, but social distancing will affect space density 

Though the sizes of offices are not expected to change, “flexible working practices may result in fewer people in the office at any one time,” said Cushman & Wakefield CEO  Brett White in prepared remarks. “That space-saving is offset by the need to accommodate social distancing in the office.”

What’s interesting is that there’s a generational difference in how employees feel about work during the pandemic. The survey finds that it’s been tougher for younger generations, even though Millennials and Gen Z usually voice the strongest desire for flexible working options. One reason might be that Gen Z might be living in shared spaces or living with their Baby Boomer parents. Millennials might also have inadequate home workspace, plus the burden of being caretakers. But Baby Boomers are adapting the best and report positive workplace experiences. 


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