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Why CEOs need to focus on Workplace21

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was thought that expensively situated offices were critical to the reputation and success of businesses, to productivity, company culture and the attraction of talent. Now there is talk that these offices are obsolete.

But at Engage Workplace we believe, we are on the verge of the best thing to ever happen to the work space; a real focus on flexibility, co-working, creativity, freedom and collaboration.

Whilst 2020 has seen a sudden and dramatic shift in the location of work with bedrooms being converted into offices, living room tables into desks and kitchens into office space, the impact on the mental well-being and productivity of homeworkers is now being considered.

To begin with, the idea was a novelty; extra time with family, keeping on top of the washing, rolling out of bed two minutes before we needed to be online, only having to dress the top half of ourselves for zoom, squinting at the laptop in the garden under the glare of the sun or viewing the blossoming fruits of our lockdown labours through a window.

But as soon as lockdown was over and the UK was encouraged to return to work, there was a small sigh of relief. Because home working doesn’t work for everyone as many of us don’t have the right equipment to work well; chairs that are in an awful position, the sofa (even worse), noisy children, home activities that demand our attention, and internet connections that struggle to keep up.

Many of us simply need a deeper sense of connection with the people we work with and for – and need to be able to put distance between our work self and home self.

As a recent Kinsey Report questioned: “Will corporate cultures and communities erode over time without physical interaction? Will planned and unplanned moments of collaboration become impaired? Will there be less mentorship and talent development? Has working from home succeeded only because it is viewed as temporary, not permanent?”

We believe that the level of engagement in any organisation directly influences business results, driving performance, creativity and innovation. There is also a direct link between employee engagement and customer loyalty.

Darwin wrote when he was building his theory of evolution that natural selection favours a sense of flexibility. It’s not always the strongest species that survives; it’s sometimes the most adaptable.

CEOs really need to consider driving the transformation that we are calling Workplace21. Creating welcoming environments that drive collaboration and engagement, innovation and productivity. To move away from traditional office environments and toward spaces that mirror how we really want to work and live.

For many, remote working has blurred the edges of our work-life balance. Because our laptop is always within reach, we check our emails late at night, respond immediately to things that could be sorted in the morning, give way to a pressure that we must always be available.

Workplace21 is a concept that embraces flexible design, the new post-pandemic culture that offers employees a variety of environments in which to work within the office; safe spaces and quiet places, collaborative areas, sound proof booths and meeting rooms; the freedom to choose where to work and when.

Are you giving your staff the office of the future?

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