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Future of the Office

What is the Elastic Interior?

As company's needs grow and change, so do office needs. Create a space that can grow and change with your company's needs.

February 23, 2021

Change is a constant, and this is true in the workplace. Workscapes CEO Elizabeth Dvorak describes the importance of adaptability with the analogy of elastic. “Elastic is a good visual, like putty or fresh clay that molds as you need it, develops the space as you need it, and that meets and exceeds the needs of the team.”

Changing Expectations

While global workforce expectations continue to shift due to COVID-19 it’s paramount for businesses to consider the keys to their success in the future by reflecting on the past year. “Two things that we’ve learned through this pandemic is the need to be agile and resilient.” says Workscapes CEO Elizabeth Dvorak. A survey of 2,000 office workers in 10 countries showed a majority want to work remotely over two days a week on average, double from before the pandemic, according to JLL's research. Three quarters of employees want to continue working from home on a regular basis. Nearly three quarters of respondents still want the ability to come into an office, while 70 percent consider the office as the best place for team building and connecting with management. Almost half of employees expect offices to offer spaces to socialize.

Flexible Office Locations

Flexible working requires more flexible space, whether desks in third party coworking facilities, in between offsite- client meetings or touchdown spaces in smaller satellite offices to minimize travel times. “We’re seeing landlords create their own flexible space or partner with flexible space operators to meet workforce demand and new working and living patterns,” says Hannah Sherwin, Head of EMEA Flex Advisory at JLL. Workscapes CEO Elizabeth Dvorak went on to discuss the need to be flexible in how we work, “Our behaviors as organizations need to be nimble, but so does our work environment. The pandemic has accelerated a company’s ability to adapt. Yet, if their office environment does not run concurrent to that, you have this seemingly nimble innovative company, but the physical environment doesn’t support that. So it’s a miss.”

Versatility Inside

Inside offices, space is becoming more versatile. As typical workdays involve various tasks from group meetings to private conversations to answering urgent emails, not all are easy to do in crowded offices where meeting rooms are in short supply. Workplaces are instead being transformed into different areas for collaboration, private work or relaxation and furnished accordingly. According to JLL, 49 percent of employees are expecting social spaces to boost their experience in the office, so it’s important for your business to be prepared for the continued changes in the office space. Elizabeth went on to tell us that having options within your space allows for change, and “can help create a dynamic workplace instead of a static workplace. This creates an environment that can adapt and change over time, and can handle change.” The modern office space will continue to transform to deal with the tasks of the times. Your space will need to be elastic to accommodate these continued changes.

Elastic Solutions

A couple of ways to make sure the space can grow and change includes a good space plan and design, furniture that is able to be reconfigured, prefabricated construction like DIRTT to change the floor plate, and listening to/getting feedback from your team to be willing to change and adjust as needed. Many organizations are investing in occupancy software, such as Herman Miller’s Live Platform to see real time data about how the space is being used. Your companies needs will continue to change over time, so plan your space now to be flexible and able to adjust to changes so that you and your team will have the tools needed to maximize your success.

Looking for the numbers?

Download our free 2021 Workplace Changes Infographic to see the statistics behind the need for an elastic interior.

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