We’ve been collecting employee opinions on Working From Home (WFH). We found two distinct experience groups since Covid restrictions began. And they represent the opposite ends of the spectrum.
The first group enthuse about WFH. Surveys show they:
And it’s not only their opinion that suggests this last part is true:
According to a survey by Gartner, 88% of organisations around the world either encouraged WFH or made it mandatory since the onset of Covid. Of those companies, 85% report a measurable increase in productivity.
This group expressed they would like the option to visit a workplace occasionally, once Covid restrictions have been removed. Some suggest one day per week at the office would be ideal, with many suggested visiting monthly is enough. Visiting the office at the same time as their team members would be essential for most.
The second group are far from enthusiastic about WFH. They have struggled with the change. Their answers show they might:
This group clearly suffers from the axiom that Work From home inevitably also means Live At Work. In many cases this group has continued to visit the office when allowed to do so.
It is simple for employees to point to the physical factors which make WFH either appealing or horrific: home size, family situation, and work role are easily identified. However, it’s harder to pinpoint that some of us are just naturally more suited to WFH. In the Harvard Business Review Special Issue The New Work/ Life Balance, Nancy P. Rothbard identifies two clear working personality types: ‘Integrators’ and ‘Segmentors’:
Such varied opinions mean huge challenges when planning how workplaces should change.
Should all our employees be able to choose freely how often they come to the office (which might mean never!).
And should we risk loosing great employees who rely on their company to provide a great working environment.
By under-estimating how much workspace is needed we’ll have packed spaces with frustrated employees unable to find a suitable place.
Over-estimating demand will lead to ghost offices, with painful and unnecessary overheads.
Likewise, the types of workspace that you provide with be critical. How will the shift in needs reflect in the spaces you provide? As office spaces evolve we are likely to see the need for more team spaces and project rooms, with the provision of the perfect space for individual work reduced. Understanding the balance is essential.
It is clear that one solution will not satisfy such diverse needs, and workplaces will need to be re-thought to accommodate all.
Our next blog posts will dive deeper into how these requirements might manifest themselves in future workspaces.
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Whether you’re looking to update your office, planning to relocate or interested to learn how your workplace could change for the post-Covid world i’d love to hear from you. Just call me or send me an email to Robin (click to send)
Itu Design is run by Robin Wycherley, an English Interior Architect based in Helsinki since 2003. His local workplace knowledge and understanding of international projects makes Robin the first choice for global organizations seeking a local expert. Robin has completed workplace design projects for Samsung, AbbVie, Takeda, EY, Visma, The United Nations, Gartner, Carefusion, and Qlik.
Robin is a member of SIO, the Finnish Association of Interior Architects.