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The office is soon to be alive and kicking again, says Colliers International

Office spaces will become a hive of activity in the future as more businesses embrace office designs which promote innovation, creativity and team collaboration, predicts commercial real estate advisors Colliers International.

The EMEA Workplace Advisory team has published its latest report, Exploring the post-COVID-19 Workplace, which evaluates feedback from its global Work from Home survey to discuss future workplace trends.

More than 5,000 respondents from 18 different industries completed the company’s global Work from Home survey, which found support for the continuation of some working from home after the pandemic is over, but also a desire to return to the office to collaborate with colleagues. Some respondents also expressed a preference to having a defined work and home life. The report concludes that the office is far from dead, but that businesses are likely to embrace more remote working practices in the future.

“Attitudes towards remote working have been completely challenged by this global pandemic,” said JanJaap Boogaard Head of EMEA Workplace Advisory. “The greatest surprise for many companies has been the realisation that their organisation can work remotely, be productive, and stay connected. This awakening has started a new conversation for many businesses as they explore their work processes, business culture and question what the future is for their workplace.

“However, the office is very much alive and kicking, because it is hard to create a compelling team culture when working remotely, we need face-to-face interaction in order to build true, meaningful connections,” JanJaap continued. “COVID-19 will be the catalyst for a new evolution in office design, as more businesses look at how best to capitalise on the credible option of remote working.

“There are great examples of companies that have transformed their workplaces to supercharge teamwork, collaboration and creativity – however many more need to follow suit. We predict this will become increasingly popular post-COVID-19, alongside increased remote working for those needing time to focus on specific tasks. It means that the way that space is designed and utilised will change, to further represent a business’ brand, culture and values.”

In order to achieve maximum utility out of offices, businesses will require an organisational behaviour change, with planned collaboration days between teams and set remote working schedules.

Sven Moller, Associate Director EMEA Workplace Advisory at Colliers International added:Many successful innovations and collaborations arise unexpectedly, it’s serendipity, and this is hard to achieve over scheduled video calls. Structuring time in the office does initially sound contradictory to creating serendipity. however, organisations should find a balance between on the one hand, creating enough space to allow people and teams to meet in the office when they need to, while on the other hand, managing their space efficiency and flattening workplace occupancy peaks.”

Exploring the post-COVID-19 Workplace can be downloaded from the Colliers International website here.
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