There was a time not so long ago when most of us led personal and professional lives. The physical workspace was where our professional lives occurred and we lived our personal lives around our home.
But a challenging year changed all of that. Our workspaces have transitioned.
We are now reaching the industry called the Future of Work 3.0 Hybrid Workplace Era. Communications flowed seamlessly, even when we weren’t in the office, between team leaders and team members, between suppliers and buyers, between communication lines and between anyone who needed to interact. Many multinational corporations are doing this. Some of the positions are declared permanently remote work, some of the physical offices are closed down, downsized, or moved out of the city. Some are implementing 2 days of remote work for the workdays.
The focus is no longer on where employees are working but on how they perform. Companies are figuring out how to balance what appears to be a lasting shift toward remote work with the value of the physical workplace. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and now the next normal, we all acknowledge the future workplace will not be binary. It will be a mixture of several workplace formats for good.
What is “Workplace 3.0”?
Over the years, the workplace has shifted from a binary space where the choice was between working at a desk or in a meeting room during “workplace 1.0”. At that time, almost any worker who wasn’t self-employed was a company’s employee. And with an open-plan desking environment interspersed with the occasional sofa, “Workplace 2.0” is designed to help resilient organizations plan for the safe return to the office, navigate and learn during reentry, all while reimagining the office of the future. Workplace 2.0 provides real-life practical information and guidance for the journey back to the office and beyond.
Since the pandemic has fundamentally altered where and how people work, it is time to adapt and rethink your approach to the office and the underlying technology needed to manage it. “Workplace 3.0” refers to the new purpose of the office, which means more than providing a space for work to be done. It describes the vision of the workplace in a post-pandemic world.
Elements of “Workplace 3.0”
A space for creativity and collaboration
“Workplace 3.0” is a creative space where people meet to share ideas, brainstorm, make decisions, and come up with solutions. It will be a place where people do work that can be challenging when they’re in disparate locations and work remotely.
Supporting different working styles
Companies are now reimagining their workplaces following the “Workplace 3.0”. We can remove half of the office desks and create more discussion spaces and creative studios. “Workplace 3.0” is a place that people choose in the hybrid model. This move ultimately makes the company leaders and designers try to turn them into attractive sites that offer the right environment for maximizing productivity. To make sure everyone is catered to, the “Workplace 3.0” office needs to be equipped for various working styles, such as soundproof booths for Zoom meetings or video calls or open coworking spaces for collaboration. The new office totally can allow people to work informally while still enjoying private time with a sofa, TV and a high table.
Building connection and culture
As we came out of lockdown, many companies adopted hybrid working. In a hybrid world, central offices have an essential role in connecting employees with company culture. During the prolonged period of home working, employees may experience a disconnection from their firms’ values and vision. “Workplace 3.0” can help to fix this as it’s a balanced workplace that reflects a company’s environmental and social beliefs with a focus on wellbeing.
Strong cultures can be built and kept healthy by ensuring that the corporate HQ is where people want to be. This fact means creating offices that offer comfort and give people some sense of control over their surroundings, as well as stimulation and inspiration. Rooms dedicated to quiet, focused work, specialist phone booths, and break rooms can all positively impact employees.
Is your office ready for “Workplace 3.0”?
There needs to be a balance between home and professional life. Many more people in the future will continue to work from home if the job allows it. On the other hand, working from home has not been easy for many, resulting in poor mental health, lack of connection with colleagues, and all kinds of stress. The office is still the heart and soul of a business, reflecting its brand and culture. Therefore, we need to try hard to make people return to the office. And there is more effort involved, making them fear missing out if they don’t come to a physical workplace.
Returning to the office now is a challenge and an excellent opportunity to reinforce the company’s culture and let the leaders connect with their employees as they adjust to the new work models. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional office space was designed, more than anything, to be functional. People now want to choose where and when they can do their best work, rather than be confined to a single location from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week. Therefore, workspaces will blend creatively active workspaces with interactive designs and flexible work.
So, is your office ready to make such a transformation?
The future office has to be a balanced environment that supports people in all matters of their lives—work, family, circle of friends, hobbies, and personal growth. It will be all about biophilic designs, flexible work cultures, and more emphasis on the employees’ healthcare. The future workspace will have to offer a variety of work settings to encourage people to be more productive. From focus rooms to collaboration areas, from formal meeting rooms to flexible creativity spaces. There will be a long list for your office to consider: location, size, workspace design, floor layout, office culture, technology, and how they affect us. But this will be worth all our efforts as an effective “Workplace 3.0” will provide a safe space for us to learn and grow, inspire and innovate, create, and collaborate.