Demystifying di erent workstyles that have emerged over the past two years is vital for postpandemic
organisations to thrive, says Giles Fuchs, CEO of O ce Space in Town (OSiT)
As employees increasingly return to o ices,
many companies are rightly asking
themselves what exactly the future of work
holds. In the two years during which the majority
of people worked from home, we have learned
important lessons: we are social creatures that
thrive o in-person interaction and many of
us are more productive and happier working
collaboratively in an o ice. However, our working
behaviours and o ice environments must adapt
to a post-pandemic desire for flexibility and highquality
So, as we tip-toe towards a new normal,
companies must make the most of the new
opportunities to re-engage remote workers, to
rethink the very nature and purpose of the o ice.
Understanding the di erent working styles that
have emerged will be vital to this.
The concept of hybrid working was popularised
during the pandemic. It is o en confused with
flexible working but actually refers to how an
employee splits their time between working in the
o ice and remotely – which may be from home or
satellite o ices or even co ee shops and flexible
Anecdotally, it seems to be how most companies
and employees see the return to work happening,
at least initially. Although how companies choose to
implement the model varies enormously.
For employers, hybrid models can o er an answer
10 MAY 2022
to some of the negative issues of permanent home
working like a loss of productivity, isolation and
mental health issues. But they aren’t right for every
situation. Many work interactions require people to
be face-to-face more o en.
For example, the best creative work happens
when a team is in full flow and everyone is focused
on solving a collective problem. That is best done
when teams are together in the same space.
For situations like this many companies have
implemented activity-based working.
WHAT IS ACTIVITY-BASED WORKING?
The idea here is that employees are more productive
when they have the right spaces in which to
complete certain tasks. And, as the name suggests, it
allows people to choose their work setting based on
what they are doing at a particular time.
While this sounds like a great solution it is
not without challenges. Some of the amenities
which are being expected by businesses include:
entertaining spaces, breakout areas and even
recording studios to accommodate a variety of
activities such as client meetings, team brainstorms
and even podcast production. For high quality o ice
buildings this is the standard, but others are being
le to catch up.
Another challenge this presents is dealing with
di erent levels of occupancy, as some spaces will
be used more than others, and some days of the
week will inevitably see greater footfall. But, if these
challenges can be overcome, the result will be a
boon for workers and businesses.
Perhaps a fundamental question underlying all this
is, what is the o ice and what purpose does it serve?
Historically, the o ice was somewhere you went
to work and then went home. But the nature of
work and how we do it has changed fundamentally.
The modern working day balances social activities
and time to use services that aren’t available to us
during our leisure time.
To accommodate this the o ice is evolving beyond
its traditional functions as a mere workspace. At
OSiT, for example, our Service-Enhanced, Multi-
Occupancy Buildings (SEMOB) aim to provide a
service alongside a space, and the possibilities are
O ice spaces could include everything from
gyms and shops to doctors surgeries, dentists,
hair salons and more. In recognition of how
people are increasingly travelling for work and
important meetings, our Monument centre includes
bedrooms, ideal for stopping over a er important
meetings or simply late-night social events.
The SEMOB model reflects the move to a more
holistic working environment. It is important to
recognise that professionals travel to the city centre
for more than just work, so a space which prioritises
convenience and actively meets the needs of
occupiers will be popular with both employees and
NAVIGATING DIFFERENT MODELS
The pandemic has taught us many things. We have
learned how much we value time with our families
and the time to do things we really love. But, it has
also taught us that workplaces are vital to many
e icient work practices and to worker wellbeing,
as well as being an important driver of economic
activity in cities.
This evolving discussion on the work environment
reflects a real need for businesses to take the
changing priorities of their employees into
consideration. Making informed decisions about
work strategies will be essential for a stronger
business and workforce.
And, while the adoption of new work styles and
settings present unique challenges, there is an
exciting opportunity for companies to reimagine
how they want to engage with their employees and
the spaces they share.
ADVICE & OPINION