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Post-Pandemic Workspace Innovation: What’s Next?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

With the return of hybrid working, we’re starting to see organisations entering a “nesting” period.

Many challenges have been faced and solutions found, so what do things look like now?

When visiting these typically larger organisations, it’s interesting to see that there’s a definite requirement for collaborative spaces as employees return to the office. Spaces for real-time information sharing, whiteboarding and presenting are becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, along with sound-absorbing meeting pods with drop-in video conferencing built-in.

Rows of desks with computers are fast taking a backward step, being supplemented with a more mobile balance of engaging spaces. This is not only far more agile and productive, but it’s being driven by the expectations of employees.

So, what do employees really want and need?

Technological advancement during the pandemic, coupled with employees not wanting to go back to ageing methods, means employers have had to take their foot off the brake and embrace workspace innovation.

Homeworkers were thrust into situations they weren’t familiar with, having to adjust and learn almost overnight. Not only were they forced to grapple with connecting to a virtual call, but they also had to learn how to effectively communicate on one. Change has followed, these employees are more confident and tech-savvy than ever and they also recognise the value of technology - and their time.

These employees are questioning long journeys to meeting facilities and why they’re emailing someone that’s sat next to them when they could both be doing the same thing from home, saving on travel time and expense while they’re at it. But many also crave meaningful, social interaction with their colleagues and the opportunity to collaborate in person.

But that’s not the full picture. The technological skills and thinking gained during the pandemic can also be met with trepidation and resistance. While most homeworkers have advanced rapidly and are embracing new ways of working, there are also those who have continued as normal within their organisations, keeping essential infrastructure alive, and they expect the ‘old’ ways of working to remain.

This has forced a “gap” in opinion and advancement.

How do you use workspace innovation to achieve balance and bridge the gap?

When your organisation is deciding how to shape future workspaces, change management is an essential ingredient. To just provide your team with new technology and a new collaboration space as a pacifier is not the right solution - consideration needs to be given to the education of the “gap”.

Gaining social acceptance of technology using micro-experience venues, breakout areas, presentation areas, and/or collaboration areas is an interesting way to address this. Letting employees gain trust and confidence in their own time, while they figure out how best to use the technology for their personal gain, is a popular option. It also means you don't have to start with a huge investment that might not suit your workforce.

“You don’t know what you don’t know” and, although training would be of value, how people interact and collaborate within their roles and with technology is always different. It should be left to your employees to experiment, to find their way and bond as a team again, with the time and space they need for the best results.

Reaping the Rewards

Those that are embracing change are reaching out to Quintessence to discuss new innovative ideas, utilising the ground-breaking technology available.

We’re noticing the progression in these organisations, the ones that have adapted, and those transformations look different for everyone. Some have embraced space optimisation or incorporated booking systems to manage resources better. Others have revitalised conference spaces with new technology or even built a full experience centre for full ultimate impact. Whatever changes they’ve made, all have saved their company time and cost long-term, and increased productivity as a result. The best part? By presenting a new foundation for their employees to think and work more creatively, they’re now gaining a competitive advantage too.

Quintessence are excited to work with these organisations to help shape their “digital futures” and turn the “gap” into a seamless opportunity.

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