Transitioning to a World Where We Work From Anywhere
In the past, we worked primarily from the office. During the pandemic, we worked from home. What’s next in the evolution of the workplace ecosystem?
The pandemic has forever changed the way we work. During its early stages, conversation centered around working from the office vs. working from home. Employers were faced with tough decisions about whether to keep employees in the office or allow them to work from home. Zoom and other remote work technologies were adopted essentially overnight with work teams learning how to function with no in-person interaction.
That was then. For a while, we all thought things might return to normal eventually; but, months into this pandemic, which shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon, it’s time to begin asking a different set of questions and thinking more holistically about the possibilities for the future of work. While our first shift was work away from the office, what’s next?
The Ecosystem of Working from Anywhere
Research is beginning to show that the future of work will increasingly trend toward flexibility, enabling employees to be able to work from the office, the home, and even third places. In the words of designer and architect Patricia Urquiola, “The center of work is not just the desk, it’s wherever you sit.” With the help of many completed and ongoing research studies, Haworth is beginning to explore more about what this work ecosystem will look like, and how each of the places of work functions uniquely and connectedly.
The Ecosystem of Working from Anywhere
Some theorized that for many people, the office would be a thing of the past. While some companies, especially larger corporations, have moved in that direction, there’s still an incredibly important place for it in the work world. Data from research done by JLL, which asked more than 3,000 office workers from around the world, shows that 58% miss the office (65% among young professionals). Nearly half of those surveyed “missed the human interaction and socializing with colleagues.” The importance of the office comes down to two main things: culture and collaboration. The office provides a face-to-face place where employees can do their best interactive work, all while cultivating the unique culture of the company.
More and more, the home office will be a place for focus work, reading and research, scheduled calls, and virtual meetings. Many companies have provided employees with Work From Home packages and resources to help best support the work they do at home. With the pandemic alive and well, the home workplace won’t be going anywhere. It will be a new, central part of the work world, blurring the idea of a work-life balance. If you’re still working on building or refining your home office, here’s 7 basics for a healthier, high-performing work from home setup.
The Third Place
Third places have always been somewhat a part of the work ecosystem and will continue to play a part in how we work in the future. Whether it’s a business meeting over coffee or a project discussion over lunch, third places act as a neutral site, away from both the office and the home, to find productivity. While many of these places may be closed or have restricted hours as the pandemic continues, those that are open are providing havens for people craving to get out of the house for a change of scenery.
“The center of work is not just the desk, it’s wherever you sit.”
– PATRICIA URQUIOLA, designer & architect
What Work Happens Best Where
Within this new ecosystem, one of the many questions to answer is when to work from home, when to come into the office, and when to seek a third place. Data from Leesman Global Working from Home Survey shows that while all activities can take place from either the office or the home, some are better suited toward one or the other.
As noted above, the top activities that are supported better at the office than the home include:
Conversely, the top activities that are supported better at home than the office include:
Learning to function within this new work ecosystem will continue to be a challenge for both companies and employees. In some areas, technology will need to continue to advance or be adopted to better help the flow of work amongst teams both internally and externally. For some companies who haven’t yet returned to the office yet, reconfigurations or new products may be necessary to help keep employees safe. For others, work from home office packages may need to be provided to employees to keep productivity high at home.
Regardless of what the need is, we are here to help in whatever way we can. If you have questions or need guidance, feel free to reach out to us to discuss how we can help.
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