WHAT NEXT FOR THE WORKPLACE?
KKS Savills explores the emerging trends
In the last two years, following a number of working-from-home mandates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fringe working trends such as video conferencing, screen-shared content and working from home suddenly became commonplace for most companies. The office was no longer the main place where desk-based computer work was being carried out and as a result, occupancy rates are lower.
KKS Savills has been helping companies assess, repurpose and resize their office space based on their occupancy rates. We create workplace strategies, design office interiors and offer change management. Most companies are faced with one of the following scenarios:
A company has an existing workplace that has low occupancy rates. It has a dated office design made up mostly of cramped traditional desks with very few alternative work settings and support spaces (meeting rooms, quiet rooms, collaboration spaces, social spaces, health & wellbeing spaces, and personal storage). The number of traditional desks is reduced to match average occupancy levels, the space between and around them is made more comfortable and the remaining area is redesigned to house all the modern alternative work settings and support spaces that are required for a mobile workforce to learn, produce, share and celebrate together. In most cases, this generally results in a small to no reduction of overall office area based on the improvements needed to make up for the original lack in modern ways of working.
A company has an existing workplace that has low occupancy rates. It already has a good allocation of modern alternative work settings that support its traditional assigned desk population. In this scenario, the number of desks can be reduced to match the occupancy levels and an overall reduction of space could be made.
Clear communication of change
When facing a change in the way an office is used, companies need to clearly communicate the ‘why’. Opportunities and challenges need to be assessed and companies need to decide what is most important to them and their staff. Does a reduction in space / rent / fit-out cost / furniture cost / carbon footprint / energy usage equate to the loss of personalised / assigned workspaces and the effort it can take to learn new ways of working and office protocols?
If you build it, will they come?
Sometimes, even the most modern, well-designed spaces aren’t enough to make staff want to return to the office. More than often, we are asked by our clients, ‘what will entice our staff back to the office?’ and the answer can be more of a psychological one than a physical one.
Why people choose to work from home or the office can be a mixture of all or one of the following:
- Day-to-day working facilities – are they better in the office or at home? (this can differ from person to person based on salary, age, role, seniority, country, location, and industry)
- Office building amenities – do they offer anything that benefits the user
- Commute time – is the office and are your colleagues worth the time it takes to get there and see them
- Colleagues – do you like spending time with them? Do you respect them?
- Company – do you believe in what the company stands for? Are you proud to work for them?