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Whether you are working from home or in the office, we are becoming increasingly aware of how our environment affects our productivity and wellbeing. Having adjusted to our home workspaces, what will tempt us to leave the house and commute back into the office? Our expert panel weigh up the workplace design trends for successful hybrid working that now need to deliver so much more than a desk and chair.

Build it but will they come?

Despite the increase in remote working and many office spaces lying empty for months during the first Covid lockdowns, the office is not entirely dead. 

In 2020, there was a lot of talk of downsizing the office footprint with some businesses scrapping the traditional offie altogether. A report by PwC found half of the UK’s largest companies planned to reduce their office real estate, with a third of those reducing it by more than 30%. A report by the Robert Walters Group which surveyed 2000 global companies, also found 37% plan to reduce office space. 

There is still a requirement for many organisations to retain some office space as we see a move to more hybrid working models, and businesses looking at how they can adapt what they already own rather than scrapping it completely.

In the home, we are also changing how we use our space. An increase in working from home means we are looking to capitalise on the space we have, making use of every corner and unused alcove where we could house a work station.

What is undeniable is that the workplace has evolved and is continuing to do so.  

We speak with a panel of experts to evaluate some of the key changes and trends that we are seeing. How has Covid and the new ways of working impacted workplace design? For those adopting a hybrid approach, what do people want from their office spaces?

In this full article we will look at:

  • Home vs Office
  • Personalisation
  • Zoning
  • Equality
  • Technology
  • Lifestyle factors
  • War for talent

“We used to think about who your biggest competitors were. Now the homeworker is the competitor. At home, we’ve set our preferences perfectly… Now we need to replicate that in an environment where you’ve got to get people to get out and commute."

Nick Cannons, Esse Agency

The Experts

  • Nick Cannons is a workplace consultant and director at Esse Agency. They support developers and businesses with their commercial footprints and creating purposeful environments.
  • Lee Chambers is the founder of Essentialise and an environmental psychologist and workplace wellbeing consultant. He helps businesses design wellbeing strategies linked with inclusion and talent retention.
  • Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald. Clinical pyschologist and neuropsychologist, who works across multiple industries specialising in workplace mental health and design for cognitive wellness. 
  • Rob Smith, co-founder of Podia.work specialises in providing workplaces and individuals with technology solutions and furnishings to help professionalise hybrid working.

New Normal: Why there is no clear winner in the home vs office debate

As some organisations begin the transition back to the office, things look different. Not everyone is rushing back with excitement. We know from the Great Resignation that many thousands of people want to remain at home, or at least have the choice and flexibility to do so.

For companies trying to decide how they move forwards with their operational models and space, there is no universal blueprint that works for all. Businesses and individuals are trying to decide what remote looks like, what hybrid looks like. Who will go to the office, who will stay at home, and when and how often? 

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