COVID-19 has transformed our way of life. Organisations transitioned towards new ways of working overnight. But as remote and flexible working will surely become part of the future, physical workspaces will also remain relevant – but not without changes.
According to Carlo Ratti, Italian architect and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the challenge is to leverage physical spaces to pursue “the rebirth of the office in a form that enhances its greatest asset: the ability to nurture all the ties that bind.” So, what will the office of the future look like?
Heart of Human Connection
According to a recent survey, 58 percent of employees missed the office during lockdown. In a time of growing loneliness and social isolation, offices are an irreplaceable source of socialisation and human interaction. The workplace of the future will boost feelings of purpose and belonging to a community – such as joint volunteering activities or spontaneous team events – serving as a catalyst for employees’ engagement, well-being and fulfilment.
As working from home better accommodates autonomous, ‘heads-down’ work, offices will be the anchors of companies’ collaborative culture. By supporting interactions that cannot happen remotely, their primary purpose will be to break the barriers to open communication and facilitate information sharing and cooperation across the organisation. Long live casual chats and whiteboard brainstorming sessions!
Innovation and creativity are among the top 10 skills of the future, according to the World Economic Forum. By bringing people together and fostering open and constructive confrontation, the workplace of tomorrow will create the conditions for these qualities to grow, encouraging spontaneous idea generation and inspiring employees to look for new solutions to complex problems as well as driving value.