After a year and a half of uncertainty many office workers are now returning in droves — and others in trickles. It’s unclear what the landscape of the post-Covid office will look like as matters evolve, but one thing is for sure: employees have strong opinions in this arena.The decision about whether to work from home or in an office can be highly personal on the employee end, and extremely complex from a management perspective. Many factors play into whether or not employees and teams can work remotely some or all of the time, so there’s no one perfect model for the post-Covid office. (Of course, it’s a lot easier to work from home if you have fast Internet and a comfortable work-from-home setup like all of our Blueground guests.)
Daniel Davis, Ph.D., a senior researcher at international design practice Hassell, does research focused on the future of the workplace. In an article for the Harvard Business Review he lays out the challenges of choosing a side in the remote vs. in-person battle:
“Some argue that our experiment with working from home has been so successful that remote work is here to stay. Others speculate that people are starving for face-to-face interaction, and that central business districts are primed to come roaring back. Splitting the difference, another group believes that the future of work won’t be either of these two extremes, but a hybrid solution between home and the office.”
Davis sees five possibilites for what the office could look like in the near future:
Employees return to the office and resume a regular nine-to-five routine. The office might be a bit more hygienic and flexible, but mostly this is the centralized office as it was before the pandemic.
A hybrid model where employees visit the office when they need to collaborate and return home to do their focused work. The office serves as a social hub — the place people go to meet, socialize, and work together.
Employees work from an office but don’t have an assigned desk. Instead, they spend their day moving between a variety of workspaces, such as meeting rooms, phone booths, hot desks, and lounges. Prior to the pandemic, most Australian activity-based offices had approximately eight desks for every 10 people (since people often worked elsewhere in the office). After the pandemic, firms are looking to shrink this as low as five desks between 10 people, anticipating that many of their employees will be out of the office, working from home a couple of days per week.
Rather than traveling to a large office in the central business district, employees work from smaller satellite offices in the suburbs and neighborhoods closer to where they live. This saves them the commute to a central office while still providing the benefits of face-to-face interaction with colleagues.
Employees work from home — or anywhere else they like — allowing companies to ditch expensive leases and build on what they started during the pandemic.
How do you see these models fitting into your organization’s strategy in the near future? When flexibility is the name of the game, Blueground makes it easy for employees who are working with hybrid and remote setups to be productive. All of our turnkey furnished apartments in 15 cities have discrete spaces for life and work, and we have partnerships with food and grocery delivery services, transportation providers, and wellness apps to make it even easier for your employees to maintain work-life balance.