Path Forward Series Part 5: Ready for What’s Next
The workplace is quickly evolving. Which is a good thing. As a company rooted in reinvention, Kimball has a history of facing challenges and responding with inspired solutions. Looking ahead, we envision a purpose-driven office—a place that adapts and responds to how people work, both individually and in groups. It’s not enough to get simply get by. We want people to thrive. While many question the future of the office, we see a world of opportunities. It’s a new day. We’re excited by all the ways we can make work better than ever.
Preparing for an End to the Pandemic
The pandemic is like no other event in our lifetime. Businesses around the globe have been forced to adjust radically. The same is true of employees, who between Zoom meetings, have been able to reflect on what matters most, both in life and on the job. For workers, COVID is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reassess priorities when life “returns to normal.” How are people responding? With findings from our design partners at Kuchar, here is what we found.
To get a clear read on how workers are responding to current events, our partners at Kuchar design group in Chicago performed targeted surveys spanning age, position, employment status, and other details from workers in every state. The following statistics offer insight into where employees currently stand.
How can offices prepare for a return to work? When you spend time with the survey findings, it become clear: people want safety, flexibility, and ways to collaborate in person and remotely.
Despite current events, the desire to return to the office (at least, in part) remains strong. According to findings from Kuchar, this can be attributed to the in-person benefits of collaboration. A company’s culture and ability to innovate are formed around people spending real time together. To get there, companies will need to embrace a plan that is flexible and purpose driven. Now more than ever, an organization’s values will drive decisions over how spaces are planned and executed.
“There will be more emphasis than ever before on company values, and how their physical space responds to these values. Office culture, location, and organization will play a large role in determining the footprint the company needs as well as types of spaces within the office.” – Kuchar, The Future of the Office
Creating the Future Office
As a new way of working begins to take hold, companies will need to adopt a flexible mindset around working from home, office footprint, and employees wanting both focused and collaborative spaces within the office.
Office environments will need to be planned around their inherent strengths: bringing people together in physical space and supporting the kind of interaction and productivity not possible when working remote. A premium will be placed on flexibility. Workers will thrive when given choice over how and where they can be most effective. Companies will need to be equally creative when considering how to maximize their available real estate. With so much to consider—owned space, standard leases, flexible leases, flex space, co-working space, and remote work—organizations with a clear sense of their values and purpose will have the greatest success moving forward.