We’ve been through a lot of change in the past year in the way we work. One of the recurring stories of 2020 was how we’ve adapted to the disruptions of COVID-19. We know that work can be done from nearly anywhere. But the office still has its place. We’re focused on social distancing, but we still want to be around one another. There are times when we need that physical proximity for mentorships, learning, and collaboration. Now that we’ve settled into remote and on-site work, let’s consider what we want our offices to be. Let’s reimagine the traditional workplace.

A recent PwC survey shows that we want a hybrid work arrangement where we are given flexibility in how we do our jobs. We may be willing to go back to the office on a part-time basis. But we also need to transform those office buildings into places where we want to be because they have value and excite us.

Rethinking the office

The PwC survey noted that some companies will reduce the size of their office spaces, while many others (56%) expect to need more real estate. The office is here to stay. But what it looks like and how it functions is up to us. And how it changes can influence the neighborhoods they occupy.

As we enter a new year and the prospect of getting the coronavirus under control, we’re thinking about how we want to shape our work experience for the long term. So far, here is what we’re pretty sure of:

  • Remote work is here to stay
  • Offices are to stay
  • Hybrid work is becoming the norm

People throughout companies can make their voices heard so that they have a part in improving their operations. With those improvements should come increased job satisfaction and higher profits for businesses. Company leaders have to be willing to listen to the talented people that drive their company’s success. If they do, they can build a culture that everyone understands, values, and wants to be a part of.

The role of unified communications and collaboration

Here at AVI-SPL, we often talk about the importance of employee engagement. We know how important it is for people to be invested in their work and feel that their contributions matter.

The unified communications and collaboration tools that have been seeing us through will continue to play a big role in bringing us together. We rely on these tools to stay connected and work on projects together in real time. As the workplace evolves, these tools will connect employees in and out of the office.

UCC solutions like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom were well established and popular when they became essential during the pandemic. That role continues today as we try to keep our distance and slow down the spread of the virus while also working.

In 2021, organizations of all types can experiment with flexible work schedules and find the right UCC tools to support their new culture. This effort may determine the best mix of traditional on-site and remote work for different employees. That blend may depend on the individual, or it might be tied to a department and how it functions.

Recreating city centers

Reimagining the traditional workplace can influence the areas where we work. If we value people working together in person, then we must improve the areas where they do business. And while we think of our job experience in terms of workspaces, this effort can go beyond the building. As noted here, a company’s space reflects its brand and will influence its ability to retain talent.

The open offices we create today can lead to new, invigorating urban areas. City centers and office parks don’t have to be sections of isolated office buildings. They can be hubs of innovation and social life. We can create a future where people and not impersonal structures of concrete and steel are the focus of a thriving city. We can extend the concept of community from our residential neighborhoods to the offices where we work.

Work with a trusted guide

The steps we take today to reimagine the office will shape where we live and work, and the quality of both. The future of work can be more than the flexibility to work anywhere with collaboration technology. For now, change starts with the office. It’s as good a time as any to think about what it can be and take action. Contact AVI-SPL for guidance with evolving your workplace.