The future of offices and workspaces
Once upon a time, time spent in the office was an important metric of success, and to ever suggest working from home or ‘hybrid working’ would be absurd. Fast forward to 2022 and this traditional way of thinking has been totally flipped on its head. The COVID-19 pandemic saw the office workplace as we know it disrupted and dismantled, with thousands of office employees having to adopt a work from home approach.
Two years on, and most offices are showing no signs of returning to the way things were before the pandemic. Job opportunities are being advertised as ‘hybrid’ or ‘remote’ opportunities and flexible working is the new buzzword on the block. With a far more fluid and flexible approach being introduced to where we physically work, what affect has this had on businesses? Is the office still important? Or will the chit chat around the office coffee machine be forever replaced with Teams notifications and virtual meetings?
The evolution of the office space
If you picture an office in your mind, you’ll probably think of rows upon rows of segregated grey office cubicles in a dull concrete building with bad lighting and drab walls. This stereotypical makeup of the office has evolved quite drastically however, with companies now designing a communal, comfortable and fun office space to help employees be their productive best.
Today, the best offices in the world understand they must offer employees a place that not only allows them to produce their best work, but a place that nurtures their physical and mental wellbeing; somewhere employees look forward to spending their time. Employees who feel looked after, understood, and valued are typically happier and more likely to produce better quality work.
The rise of the tech campus
Huge tech campuses Like Googleplex and Apple Park seemed to start the trend of rethinking how we look at the modern office. They not only allow employees to focus on their work, but offer a multitude of ways to relax and rewind. It is not uncommon for offices today to have gaming zones, chill-out areas, gyms, fully equipped kitchens, cafeterias, bars, yoga sessions, meditation mornings and more. So, with so many offices offering their employees so much that caters to their wellbeing, why do some employees still want to work from home?
Hybrid & remote work: why some employees want to continue working from home
Remote roles suggest employees work from home on a permanent basis, whereas hybrid roles offer employees a mixture of office based days and work from home days. These setups do, obviously, pose some attractive benefits such as:
- Flexibility and freedom – there are many benefits from having more time spend at home and less time commuting. Being home to take deliveries, to look after children or pets, and to save money on commuting, are all reasons to enjoy working from home.
- Lower building costs – employers can plan around occupancy levels and cut down on office overheads such as supplies, rent, and other expenses.
- Safety during the pandemic – some employees might still be worried about COVID. Hybrid and remote roles are more inclusive for high-risk individuals.
Why the office environment is still key to employees
Despite a few attractive benefits, there is a lot to be said as to why offices could be argued as integral to the success of businesses:
- It is much easier to create a culture of support and personal development when you have employees in the same space.
- Following on from the above point, it’s far easier to create a sense of camaraderie by having everyone in the same workspace. Having a central place for employees to come together helps instil a feeling of belonging and purpose.
- In an office, you are guaranteed certain standards by law. There are legislations in place to make sure your equipment is supportive of your health, such as preventing back ache or eye strain. At home, you are solely responsible for your own health, safety, and wellbeing.
- The office can offer a disruption free zone for employees who, at home, may be distracted by children, pets, or household chores.
- Humans are naturally sociable creatures. Working from home is extremely isolating, and although it may be a novelty for a short period of time, ultimately, humans thrive off of social interactions and feeling a part of a collective for something that matters. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all have a need for connections with others.
- Despite technology being the best it has ever been in terms of bridging geographical gaps through video calls and instant messaging, nothing compares to face-to-face interactions. Being in person with our employees allows us to receive no-verbal cues and conversation flows far more naturally and at a faster pace.
- Working in an office is convenient for communicating. More often than not you can get an instant reply from somebody word of mouth rather than waiting for an email response or a message via Teams.
The new Purplex HQ
Here at Purplex, we have recently moved into a brand new, state-of-the-art office headquarters that we could not be prouder of in Worle Park Way, Weston-super-Mare. This trailblazing new HQ has changed the way we work for the better; creating an exciting and dynamic environment we can grow with and enjoy after years of lockdowns and isolation.
Benefits of our HQ include:
- Plenty of free parking
- A free gym
- Bike storage
- Instant boiling water taps and filtered water
- Advanced AC and air filtration systems
- Easy transport links, local amenities and shopping
- A large open-plan office with plenty of space for each individual employee
- A large communal area featuring a fully equipped kitchen, flatscreen TV, and bar (for after hours and events only, of course.)
- Seated massage sessions
- Regular social events
- A morning yoga class
- State-of-the-art meeting rooms
We have recently adopted a flexible hybrid working model. This means, for the most part, our workforce are based at our HQ. However, should someone need to work from home for whatever reason, they can request the day in advance with their line manager. Staff may also request a reoccurring day to work from home.
Flexible working can reduce absence rates and allows employees to better strike a work-life balance. It allows them to manage aspects such as childcare and long-term health conditions, as well as supporting their mental health and stress.
The takeaway on the future of offices and workspaces
Despite a divide in opinions regarding remote working Vs returning to the office, it is safe to say that the approach to office-based work will remain more fluid than it ever has before. Here at Purplex, it’s our people that make us, and the office remains an integral part of our not only our success as a business, but the happiness and wellbeing of our staff.
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