One thing we’ve all learnt from the pandemic is that working 9 to 5 in an office isn’t how it has to be. We can be equally productive working from home with flexibility in our hours and a much better work/life balance. One thing that I certainly missed though are those little off-topic chats with people, where ideas are sparked, that air of creativity is hard to reproduce when your day consists of back-to-back video calls.
So, the big question - what is the role of an office moving forwards?
Are staff really motivated to lose 3 hours of their day commuting to do tasks in an office that can be done equally well from home? I don’t believe so, we’ve seen how much better things can be with a hybrid working model – work from the office when you need to, work from home when you don’t. Does this mean that the office becomes a place that you have to go to for certain tasks? That seems a little negative. The office needs a makeover and a re-think on what value it provides to the organisation and to the individual.
One thing the office is good at is sparking creativity - when we chat and spend time with each other we get ideas. So maybe that is what the office is, a collaboration and creativity space. That has certainly been the attitude of organisations like Google for years – maybe everyone else is finally about to catchup with that mindset.
HPE and Brother have both recently announced the relaunch of some of their offices (here) as collaboration hubs, creating the office as centre of positive culture rather than a location. HPE has broken this down further and instead of focusing on large, centralised offices it has created smaller interconnected regional collaboration hubs.
Does this mean the office is going to look like a modern mashup of a youth club, arcade, night club and internet café? (Apologies for those too young to know what some of those are – Google it). Maybe not that extreme but the new office will have hot desks, meeting rooms and breakout areas with games/activities to stimulate people. How far people take it will depend on the culture of the company.
The new workforce coming through has grown up with productivity, social media and gaming technology at their fingertips 24/7. Where they choose to work may well come down to which organisation has a culture that embraces this.
What’s the point from an IT perspective? We know that the foundation of a hybrid workforce is the digital workplace solution that enables secure working from anywhere on any device. On top of this though, the modern office will require modernised connectivity and security models, where 5G or Wi-Fi 6 networks provide higher capacity, higher speed and lower latency connectivity for devices and zero trust automates policies to control what access is, or is not, granted – enabling work and leisure to co-exist in the office, with automated guard rails to ensure appropriate segregation.
To continue this conversation about the modern office and the part that technology will play, contact us at Logicalis. We have services and solutions to accelerate your journey to the modern office and the hybrid workforce.