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What do employees want from the office environment? Understanding this will help us figure out how the workplace of the near future might differ from pre-pandemic offices.
“It is clear that employees now desire the continued flexibility to work outside of the office post-pandemic, with many commercial real estate experts predicting a shift from the need for traditional office space to more collaborative spaces in the future,” says Klein Group’s Eugen Klein, RI.
From a survey of Boston-based Stantec’s employees in 2020, it appears the great majority of employees expect to work outside the office in some format, though most still see a strong need for the office environment. Many miss the face-to-face collaboration of the office and look forward to the social interactions they have there.
“In terms of office design in the future, it’s clear that employees want more dynamic office spaces that allow them to collaborate with others,” says Klein, pointing to the need for more informal meeting spaces. “The dynamic workplace design is what employees now demand, allowing them to work in an environment that supports a mobile workforce. A dynamic office design allows employees to have choice and flexibility in their work, while the office hub provides for connection and collaboration.”
We’re also seeing a new trend of “coworking” spaces where employees from different companies share office space in the same building.
“This allows employees to have an office space on the days they require it, while employers do not have to pay for and maintain a large building on their own,” explains Klein. “For example, rather than a company accommodating all 100 staff members at their office as in pre-pandemic times, it is now able to downsize the office space to suit perhaps 10 or 15 staff members, with the potential rotation of staff to attend the office one or two days per week. As this shift continues to grow in popularity post-pandemic, companies in Canada will be looking to break their leases in large offices located in urban areas. This will likely become more apparent later this year and beyond with the introduction of hybrid working.”
|Download Fall 2021|
Read more in Klein’s “Post-Pandemic Outlook on Office Space” in the Fall 2021 edition of Input. Download Fall 2021
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