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Reimagining the office space in 2024

In this blog Jackie Bird gives her thoughts on how employers can make the office space more attractive and reignite the fire that in-person collaboration can bring.

The concept of the “new normal” in our work lives has been firmly established as we continue to navigate the changing landscape of the modern office space. With the prevalence of hybrid work arrangements, it’s evident that the traditional office setup is undergoing a transformation.

Commuting for hours each day, as many used to do, is no longer a viable option for most. The shift to remote work offers the convenience of taking Teams meetings from the comfort of our homes and the flexibility to manage various commitments simultaneously.

Written by Jacqueline Bird

Head of Move & Change Management

Jackie is Head of Move & Change Management for Crown Workspace and has over 25 years management experience within Workplace Consultancy, Change Management and Move Management

While remote work has its perks, there’s something to be said for the value of in-person collaboration. Face-to-face interactions, enriched by the nuances of body language, play a pivotal role in effective communication. While webcams can capture our faces, they often fall short in conveying the subtle cues and gestures that can significantly impact the course of a meeting or the outcome of a discussion.

Besides the benefits of in-person communication, being in the office offers other advantages. It provides opportunities for casual conversations over coffee, discussions about weekend adventures, and shared excitement over recent sports achievements. These interactions release oxytocin, a “feel-good” chemical in our brains, which is deeply linked to trust. Building trust through regular, even casual, interactions with colleagues forms the foundation of many successful business relationships.

So, the advantages of returning to the office are evident. However:

How can companies entice their employees back to the physical workplace?

Younger employees, often ambitious and eager to make their mark, can be won over more easily. Face-to-face interactions support their learning and career development in ways that virtual communication cannot replicate. For them, being physically present in the office offers a chance to stand out.

The challenge lies in convincing more experienced employees to return. They might view office life as offering limited benefits, given their extensive industry knowledge. Winning over this group should be a priority for employers.

Incentives, such as free food and quality coffee, certainly play a role in attracting employees back to the office. However, they cannot be the sole driving force. Employers need to offer something that remote work cannot provide.

As many of us have built well-equipped home offices during the pandemic, with premium office chairs and professional monitor setups, employers can’t compete on the basis of equipment alone. Instead, the key is to recreate the appeal of the home office in the physical workspace.

How can we create an inviting, modern office space?

Creating an inviting modern office space with a collaborative environment is the solution. This can be achieved by incorporating comfortable sofas, pleasant lighting, and spaces for employees to engage in discussions. Designing a space that encourages brainstorming and the free flow of ideas is essential. The goal is to transform the office into a place where employees want to spend time, collaborating, and stimulating their creativity.

However, it’s not just about the physical transformation of the office. It’s about redefining the office as a place for collaboration and idea generation. Balancing this with spaces for focused, heads-down work, like managing emails and writing reports, is equally important. The ability to handle both collaborative tasks and individual work from the office is vital.

A balanced approach is the way forward. A full return to the office is not necessary, but spending two or three days a week there can benefit both employees and the company. Accommodations can be made for those who may need more office time, while others continue to work remotely. Getting the team together in the office at least one day a week can be a reasonable and attainable goal.

Few people desire a full-time return to the office, but finding the right balance offers advantages for employees and the company alike. It’s about merging the best of both worlds in the ever-evolving landscape of modern office layouts and small office spaces.

Our team of experts is dedicated to delivering the end result for our clients with as little hassle as possible. Get in touch today, or if you’re looking for an office relocation, Crown Workspace can support you through our designated office relocation services.

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