The return to the office has been delayed.
But what does that return look like?
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought working remotely and working from home sharply into focus. We've seen that people who have had to work from home remain productive and efficient and in some cases have become more engaged with their colleagues. Technology has facilitated this and allowed people to stay in touch and work collaboratively keeping organisations productive and alive.
However, nothing can really replace the in-person work environment and we know that this person to person contact is good for mental health. Being together in-person drives culture and ways of working. It promotes trust, collaboration and inclusivity. So with the UK set for further restrictions and lockdowns for the foreseeable future what will the office look like now.
I think we are all in agreement that working from home is here to stay. But as humans we need that interaction with one another and work presents one opportunity for this to occur. I recently wrote (To Office or not) about I have enjoyed the additional time at home that I now have thanks to not commuting. But I recognise and still want that face to face interaction.
And I'm not alone in this thinking. This article's survey results state that employees want a more blended approach. The best of both worlds.
But what if there was a third world?
We know that being able to work remotely will open up the opportunity to work anywhere in the country (maybe the world). This article explores the possibility of smaller satellite offices springing up. Companies reducing the size of their HQs and making them more focused on spaces that drive collaboration, employee engagement and innovation.
It also discusses the need to trust. With less in person interaction there is inevitably less oversight. Therefore we need to place more trust in our colleagues that they are going to do what they are asked and employed to do. Therefore the call is to focus on outcomes rather than time on the office, to trust and empower colleagues.
It's a good read and presents some interesting theories and predictions. Enjoy!
Companies are now planning for a future of distributed workforces and remote team management, which will require higher levels of trust than before. Employees will be trusted to choose the place where they are most productive, allowing workforces to fluidly consume workspaces.