If these past months have 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 while working from home, cannot replace the dynamic collaborations and social interactions an office environment brings. The office is still the predominant place where the organisation’s culture is built, where connections are made and people can thrive.
At the same time, it is also evident that the increase in working from home means that the office space needs a revaluation. Up until recently we were going to the office by default, now we will be planning our office stay with a clear purpose in mind. As a consequence, the reduced 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 more fresh air is a priority and buildings with more outdoor spaces are required. Maybe in slight contrast with the natural, but certainly complementary, is the bigger emphasis on the virtual. Augmented reality is a new means to experience nearness when nearness is not possible.
We are only at the threshold of this virtual world but it is clear it will have a huge impact on the way we conduct meetings. It will lead to an even bigger diversity in spaces than we already have in the current office.
The most import role of the workplace of tomorrow is connecting the employees to the bigger story of the company. A story which is about taking a position in this world and leading the organisation with a positive message. It transforms the office from just another workplace into an inspiring beacon in an uncertain world.
The way we connect, working from home, does not replace the collaborations and social interactions an office environment brings.