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The post-pandemic workplace


Where do we go now?

We´ve been discussing a lot during this period of pandemic about design, air quality, vertical transportation, technology, social distance, flexible spaces and the impact for the companies. And it’s clear that we don’t yet have the answers. Or a clear view of the future ahead.

In the past we’ve been able to reference standards that have been written, in a design or construction perspective, we often act as translators for an established body of research. But in this case, that body of research is still to emerge.

This raises some profound questions, mostly inside design companies about how we manage those uncertainty in the strange an unpredictable world that we are now operating in.

Rather than remote work being the exception, it is now the norm for everyone and probably one of the main questions that CEOs around the world are trying to answer.

Many leaders are realizing right now that reopening is harder than shutting down. Coming back to the office is trickier and requires more wise choices and decisions than asking people to work from home. The issues related to reopening don’t really concern abstract problems, acute crisis intervention, or big strategic moves. Instead, it’s about practical and everyday stuff, a radical change of scenery for many leaders.

There are going to be these buildings that are fundamentally less risky, and there are going to be other buildings that are more challenging and will need more attention. The harsh reality is that some are going to be safer than others – so what should the minimum standard be? Where would we want to work?

Some companies are already trying to get their offices open as soon as they can. What will come next is a period of experimentation within the workplace. The people who come out of this well – on both the design and the ownership side. At the same time, we’re all thinking about how we can be prepared for the future, so that we come out of this more resilient, more agile and flexible to the challenges ahead.

In a Harvard Business Review article, Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg - author of Battle Mind: Performing Under Pressure says that “The unexpected high points brought on by the crisis are waning. Quick decision-making. Efficiency of meetings. Honest, concise, and frequent communications. Freedom to organize your day and work from home. Informal and authentic team interactions.”

We will have some difficulty to go ahead before we find the right balance, not the right solution or the perfect answer.

Approached in the right way, the new hybrid model can help you make the most of talent wherever it resides, or it works, while lowering costs and making your organization’s performance culture even stronger than before.

In a recent article from McKinsey, “the decision rests on the factors for which you’re optimizing. Is it real-estate cost? Employee productivity? Access to talent? The employee experiences? All of these are worthy goals, but in practice it can be difficult to optimize one without considering its effect on the others.

And no matter which model you choose, your essential task will be to carefully manage the organizational norms that matter most when adopting any of these models. A company should measure productivity by outcomes, not inputs - and you should do the same.

It is therefore obvious – and is already being seen in working patterns – that regional flexible workspaces provide the ideal solution for those looking for more social-distant, more connected and more pleasant working environments in the post-coronavirus era.

Some are predicting a drastic paradigm shift in the workplace. But I think many of the fundamentals of office culture will survive. We’re going to come out on the other side with a maybe a better work experience for everyone, whether they’re at home or in the office - but always with a twist of flexibility.


Original article source can be found here.