Steelcase experts have analyzed the impact, prospects and future of office work since the start of the pandemic, through more than 8 preliminary studies, analyzing more than 8,000 plans and more than 32,000 surveys conducted with employees and managers in Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Mexico, China or India. Main conclusions: 90% of professionals surveyed want to return to the office, counting on at least one day of telecommutingAccording to an average of 55% of the answers. With this, 24% of workers worldwide expect that in 2021 there will be improvements in labor flexibility policies.
What does remote work mean for employees and managers?
This unprecedented shift in business model has had different impacts on teams around the world, highlighting the different cultural features of each country. Compliance with the topic, Spanish socialization and the lack of reconciliation are among the aspects that received the worst: feeling isolated (48%) and the negative impact of reconciling work and personal life (19%) are positioned as the main negative aspects that Spaniards value, the most prominent data and much higher than Neighboring countries, such as France or Germany.
Ironically, the positive part lies in the business side: at 48%, the travel savings are much higher than the global average of 37%. Additionally, workers in Spain also highlight increased flexibility (28%) and the ability to avoid office distractions (26%). These effects, however, were not able to prevent a loss of contact between workers and their leaders, with an average of 18% in the case of Spain, and higher than 9% globally.
With this, after various analyzes, Steelcase experts identify 5 different worker profiles in our current business model:
- A weary caregiver: Working from home is a stream of competing demands. He is missing the office due to the possibility of a disconnection.
- The ‘relaxed’ factor: More than just relief from avoiding infection, he feels that the environment in the home is more congenial and that it is a “break” for him to not share physical space with his buddies.
- Creative and Frustrated Conductor: Frustrated at not being able to get his usual contacts with a content creator “close at hand”, his dilemma is whether that need justifies exposing himself to the infection.
- Search engine for “independence”: Away from the looks of colleagues or bosses, this profile finds in his home a self-organizer of his time and organization.
- Asylee “Zoomer”: Despite continuous and intense work and digital contact, they find that the greatest motivation for return is social contact with their colleagues, as long as the organization provides them with complete guarantees of safety.
Nothing will be the same before: Spain chooses the “hybrid model”
Spain chooses a hybrid system for office-to-office flexibility (53%), despite the fact that the global average analyzed prefers to delve deeper into this new hybrid model (72%). This point makes clear in our country that at the present time, we have seen the advantages of working from home, when we were asked about how often remote work in the future would you prefer? “47% tend to work remotely two or more days at a time. Weekly, but in the case of France it is 30%, and in the case of Germany it is 28%, which data may come from the novelty that this type of work represents to the Spaniards.
The ongoing pandemic has pushed the issue of change face-to-face at work even further, showing the insights Steelcase had gained from different business managers in the past year. If in April 2020 there were about 67% of companies that were considering rethinking the weight of being in the office or working remotely, in September of this past this percentage rose to 87% in the expected increase in flexibility. Currently, however, we can indicate that 53% of the Spaniards analyzed would be willing to work remotely for 1 day or less, 33% from 2 to 3 days, and 14% from 4 to 5 days.
What do workers expect from the new spaces?
How could it be otherwise, the Spaniards, in line with the majority of the countries analyzed, require their organizations to return to the usual workspace, feeling safe and optimal air quality (73%), as well as the correct arrangement allowing for social distancing (70%). , Followed by solid policies for contacting suppliers (64%) and feeling clean (63%).
They hope to restore, in the same way, mainly the possibility to participate in creativity in a personal and social way (30%), as well as access to specific tools (28%), or improve the didactic and educational aspect (28%). Out of curiosity, these priorities change when the profile is administrative, as his first need is to have a neutral space to deal with his clients personally.
Change in business design for the near future
The future of workspaces revolves around four key features of job development: safety, productivity, inspiration and resilience, and the development of the specific characteristics that have guided their evolution.
In these questions, Alejandro Businia, president of Steelcase in Spain, explains it: “More than making a change in spaces, it is about making the office a space for change. Innovation arises when people come together in a common space that makes it easier for them to be more creative. No virtual experience can replace physical experience. Communication and interaction between people is a thing. “It is essential for the ideas we need to move forward to emerge, which is why it is necessary to re-plan many of the current workspaces. Old offices no longer serve us, and we have to adapt to a more flexible model, with spaces designed for today’s needs and equipped for what might happen in the future.”
This way they are posed 4 big design trends for 2021:
- Think about individual and group needs: They must facilitate individual and team work, while allowing for rapid changes from focus alone to collaborating with a team.
- Flexibility and Fluidity: These are spaces that allow different ways to work. In this sense, two types are drawn: flexible spaces (mobility, accessible power, technology and partition) and flexible architecture (elements that allow multiple ways to reorganize space, and spaces that expand and contract according to needs).
- Combine open and closed spaces: The main trend is closed spaces for individual focus and open spaces for collaborative work.
- Physical and digital union: Teams will need space and technology to create holistic experiences for the remote team members who are physically present. Smart sensor technologies must be integrated into the infrastructure to support the growth of data-driven AI experiences.