There’s no debate that the COVID-19 global pandemic changed the nature of office work, or at least the location.
Employees switched from meeting around large conference tables to meeting through video chat. They traded in cubicles for make-shift at-home workstations. Morning commutes transitioned from suits and commutes to pajamas and a walk to the living room.
At first, these changes were a necessity. But now two years have passed, and many workers have made it clear that going to the office every day isn’t an ideal situation anymore. Does this mean work from home is the future of office work?
What Does Data Tell Us About Work Models?
There are three work models within the context of working from home: exclusively remote, hybrid, and entirely on-site.
While exclusively remote and fully on-site are easy to define, a hybrid exists in the middle. A widely accepted definition of hybrid is a worker who spends more than 10% of their time at home, and less than 100% of their time on-site.
According to these definitions, Gallup data shows that just over one-third of workers were exclusively remote at the beginning of 2022, and about the same number were hybrid. This data also suggests that half of all workers expect to work remotely for 2022 and beyond.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Office Work?
There is a chance that some of the workplace changes necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic become permanent, with about half of workers maintaining some sort of hybrid work schedule.
What will it look like at businesses and offices with fewer employees present each day, and how will people adapt their homes to become permanent office spaces?
Here’s a look at the changes we’re likely to see with a continuing work-from-home trend.
As employees spend some time at work and some time at home, they’ll naturally start to get used to the idea of completing different jobs in different spaces.
Offices that capitalize on this concept can develop activity-based workplaces, where workers have several options of locations for working, each one geared toward different working preferences or activities.
Imagine, for example, an office with a lounge area, conference rooms, private rooms for phone calls, drafting tables, desks, and a kitchen. Even within their individual cubicles, workers with adjustable height tables and adaptable accessories have the flexibility to sit, stand, lean, and everything in between, for productively completing tasks.
Flexible At-Home Offices
When employees work from home, they’ll need equally adaptive home office spaces. The tasks workers complete remotely require less in-person collaboration and specialized materials or equipment, but home offices can still be activity-based.
Phone calls, paperwork, consultations, meetings, and dozens of other activities can all be completed with the right technology and surfaces at home. At-home offices of the future can be just as flexible as on-site offices, with productive and adaptable surfaces, chairs, and office accessories.
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