CBRE: “Making offices corona-proof now is not enough”
- Changing attitudes towards working from home and working remotely are changing the function and meaning of office buildings.
- “You can make your offices Covid-19-proof now, implement new guidelines and rules for a return to the office, and pretend that the world will be the same after corona. The fact of the matter is, however, that mass remote working in these first few weeks of coronavirus measures has had a radical impact on the essence of office working.
Real estate advisor CBRE says that offices should not just be made corona-proof, but that a permanent new layout and use is required. Not only do offices need to be made Covid-19-proof for the next few months – business owners must also reconsider the function of their offices in the longer term.
Trends in overdrive
Mass remote working has led to new insights about working and the corona crisis has permanently changed the function of office buildings as we know them. In its whitepaper entitled The Office Reset: the impact of Covid-19 on the working environment the real estate advisor mentions that trends which usually take years to develop – such as remote working – have already become a reality due to the corona crisis. Flexible working has become the new standard, there is a greater focus on health and hygiene and the demand for smart, high-quality and full-service office buildings is on the rise.
“You can make your offices Covid-19-proof now, implement new guidelines and rules for a return to the office, and pretend that the world will be the same after corona. The fact of the matter is, however, that mass remote working in these first few weeks of coronavirus measures has had a radical impact on the essence of office working.
“Working in the new decade has truly become an any time, any place and anywhere activity. This means that the time has come for organisations to prepare for the future, by including working from home and other forms of remote working in their workplace strategy.”
The workplace of the future
The whitepaper shows that office workspaces will be given a different function in the future. These are the most important conclusions:
- The mass switch to working from home will force many organisations to look into striking the right balance between working at the office and working remotely. The role of the office building in the performance of work needs to be reviewed.
- The design and layout of office space must now also take into account how the spread of illnesses can be limited. There will be more attention to the health and well-being of the workforce.
- The role of smart office buildings that have been fitted with the latest digital technologies will increase. One example is making working environments mostly ‘touchless’, using technology that allows employees to use hand gestures and voice commands.
- Users will place more value on the options offered by office buildings and on a healthy working environment, to keep their employees healthy and guarantee a high level of productivity in the long term.
- We must strive for a ‘mixed reality’ in which employees have access to a large arsenal of technological solutions and are able to determine for themselves how and where they work. The workplace of the future will be more fluid.
The essence of office working has changed
“The first item on the agenda for businesses in the coming period will be focusing on facilitating in-person cooperation for teams and employees who have no or limited options for working from home. This is due to the fact that the measures associated with the coronavirus do not make it possible for everyone to return to the office,” explains Wouter Oosting.
“But you also have to keep your eye on the future,” Oosting adds. “You can make your offices Covid-19-proof now, implement new guidelines and rules for a return to the office, and pretend that the world will be the same after Corona. The fact of the matter is, however, that the essence of office work has changed dramatically during these first few weeks of mass remote working. Not only due to the measures implemented to limit the spread of the virus, but also as a result of a changing mindset about working from home. Science acknowledges that for now online interactions are fine, but in the long term personal contact is vital to a healthy life. Now more than ever, offices will have to find new ways of facilitating a healthy working environment while also taking into account those employees who, due to their situation at home, cannot or choose not to work remotely.”
The whitepaper can be downloaded via this link.