The balanced workplace and the office of the future

As individuals and organisations start planning their return to the office environment over the next few months, the workplace needs to reflect people’s changed priorities. The post-pandemic office needs to be a balanced workplace which supports people in all aspects of their lives. Organisations which fail to adapt and create the right balance will struggle as their people vote with their feet, writes Claire Watson-Gold, senior project designer and Miles McLeod, workplace consultant, Morgan Lovell

Over the past year, our expectations around work have fundamentally changed. It’s transformed from a location to an activity we can do almost anywhere. Individuals have adapted to the pandemic and become accustomed to integrating their home and work lives.

Read on for extracts of the full article ... Balance between office working and home working

Research we carried out in January shows that 88% of people are keen to return to the office with most people wanting to come to their workplace two days (22%) or three days (21%) a week. Their key reasons for being in the office are to get team work done (52%), meet and socialise with colleagues (51%) and to create and share ideas with their team (43%).

However, a solid 20% want to get to the office so they can focus on individual work, indicating that while many people have missed the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, others are desperate to get back to a dedicated and ergonomically-designed environment to help them to concentrate.

Work-life balance

People used to talk about work and life as if they were two different realms. Even before Covid, the discourse focused more on work-life integration and it’s clear that the pandemic has further blurred the lines between our work and personal lives.

While people will be glad to see the back of some of this blurring – trying to home- school children while working full-time, for example – there are other areas which will continue beyond the pandemic. Why shouldn’t people be able to have breakfast with their children, or pick them up from school sometimes and still have a fulfilling career? The positive impact on those children and their attitude towards work will benefit everyone. Why can’t they work longer hours on some days so they can have a shorter day to pursue a hobby or care for an elderly relative?

36 MAY/JUNE 2021

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