Five things business leaders want from their future office
London-based office management platform Kitt recently spoke to over 1,500 office workers to find out what they valued the most about their future office space. In this article, they explain what they discovered.
1. A flexi office set-up – suitable for both quiet working and creativity
Leaders expect the future office to consist of more varied workspaces. Our research shows that almost a quarter (24%) of business owners want more flexibility, quiet zones and creative interiors for their future offices, showing that space needs to be agile and focused around how their team works.
Steve Coulson, Co-founder and CEO at Kitt says: “A one size fits all no longer works for businesses. The workspace needs to reflect the unique objectives of your business and team working patterns, providing spaces that accommodate all by consulting with teams.”
Kitt’s client Open Exchange, a virtual meeting and events company, found space with Kitt for their growing team last year, but will continue to evolve their space by making adjustments based on how people now like to work. Ben Burnside, Head of IR at Open Exchangem says: “[The process] is evolving, and there are tweaks that we’re making as we’re learning how we use the space. For example, we’re going to be adding some acoustic pods. If there’s one thing we don’t have, it’s lots of private meeting spaces, so we’ll be looking to add those.”
2. Collaboration at the core
Increased flexibility brings different working patterns. Just because one employee prefers to work one day in the office a week, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this can work for everyone. Our data shows that collaboration is the core preferred function of the future office, with almost half (44%) of business owners believing the office will primarily be used for networking and 38% believe it will be used for meetings.
By providing open, agile spaces that facilitate easy conversation, collaboration, and social interaction, business leaders can provide a base for their culture to thrive and their people to continue to embrace those collaborative moments that are more difficult to fully experience remotely.
3. Prioritising inclusivity
Workspaces now must be appropriate for everyone’s needs. Half (50%) of directors report that representation of different cultures should be prioritised in order to create an inclusive office culture. Some suggested focuses include the use of gender-inclusive language throughout the office, for example on signage, plus gender-neutral facilities.
With the distinct focus on inclusivity, we can expect more and more businesses to factor this in as part of their office move or renovation. Steve Coulson says: “Employers will be focused on the ethics of their companies as many prospective recruits will be searching for a company that aligns with their values. Therefore, it’s important that workspaces are set up in a way that welcomes diversity and embraces different cultures”.
4. Workspace no longer being just for work
The future workplace looks like it will no longer be just a place for work but also a place to host other activities including those of their home life.
Homeschooling and close-quarters parenting during the pandemic brought many parents closer to their children in their day-to-day life. Now, spending time with children during the working day is a habit many people are looking to maintain, with 25% of directors wanting the option to bring their children into the office with allocated space for childcare enabling more flexibility in their working patterns. The very concept of a space to accommodate children was practically unheard of pre-pandemic, but indicates that business leaders want to shape their workspace to reflect not just their work needs but also their home life too.
5. Employee wellbeing initiatives
It’s easy to forget that many Gen-Z workers hadn’t experienced office life before the pandemic, missing out on all of the additional working benefits such as team lunches and office socials. It is clear that business owners want to bring these back into their future offices to continue to attract and retain the best people. Almost a quarter (24%) want plants in the office, almost one-fifth (18%) want in-house gyms and 21% want free lunches, all factors that facilitate in developing and maintaining office culture whilst balancing their employees’ wellness.
One thing is clear – the office that we knew before the pandemic will no longer exist in the same way that it did before. What is certain is that coming out of the pandemic, business leaders have gained insight and direction – they know the things that worked pre-pandemic that they’d like to keep (free lunches, inhouse gyms) and have found out what working from home features they’d like to see in the office (childcare and more inclusive spaces).
In order to do this, business leaders need to listen to their employees’ needs and align this with their own business objectives to create a space that empowers their team to do their best work as well as building a platform for their company culture to continue to thrive.