The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to take the leap in experimenting with working from home and, in general, the experiment has been seen as a success. In a recent study of its clients, workplace strategists Unispace found that 68% expect employees to work from home 2-3 days per week going forward.
This, in both a traditional and agile working office, could well just translate into a lot of empty seats, so the pressing question is to how work spaces will adapt and evolve to this next normal.
Unispace has unveiled its concept for the post-corona workplace this week, called the Propeller Office model.
The Propeller concept name refers to the two layers of working practices, both at the office and at home.
Where a traditional office set-up may be largely about offering individual desk space, whether fixed or agile, and space for employees to focus, the Propeller concept leaves these core values for an employee’s homeworking environment.
The office, then, is a space to experience what the workplace does best – reinforcing brand, culture, innovation and problem-solving – rather than just the presenteeism of clocking in and sitting at a desk all day.
“In the past year, work modes of focus, collaboration, learning, and socialisation have moved online and away from the physical workplace. With post-COVID-19 parameters in place, workspaces could remain unoccupied as much as 80 percent of the time,” says Albert De Plazaola, Unispace Global Director of Strategy.
“This does not mean the office is now irrelevant, but it does mean that the value of the office has changed. Moving forward, the office will exist to satisfy our social and collaboration needs, functioning as an idea and revenue generator, while our home office will provide us with the opportunity to focus and learn.”
A traditional office layout versus a Propeller office, wherein dedicated activity space is created for the core values of the concept.
The idea also shifts the values that employees will seek out from their physical place of work, as a space to engage in company culture and be collaborative in more creative ways. The changes, for some workplaces, may look like a reduction in real estate for work spaces, reinvesting instead in areas for collaboration, technology to smooth out the homeworking process and ways to make sure their offices are destination places of work.