If the past year of predominantly working from home has taught us one thing, it is that people need people. Zoom meetings fulfil a practical need, but the toll the anonymity of these video calls takes is already apparent. The way we connect from behind a screen cannot replace the dynamic collaborations and social interactions an office environment brings. The office has proved the place where an organisation’s culture is most easily built, where connections are made, people can thrive.
At the same time, it is evident that the success of working from home in terms of personal performance, concentration and autonomy means that the office space needs a revaluation. Until recently, we were going to the office by default. Now we may be able to plan our office visit with a clear purpose in mind. As a consequence, office space needs to attend to higher expectations than ever before. Where before one plant in a pot represented nature, now the desire is for a nature-infused environment.
Feeling healthy through closeness to nature and fresh air is a priority for many people. Buildings with more outdoor spaces are required. Maybe in slight contrast with the natural, but certainly complementary, is the emphasis on the virtual. Augmented reality is a new means to experience nearness when nearness is not possible.
The way we connect, working from home, does not replace the collaborations and social interactions an office environment brings.