work-from-home
The pandemic caused a migration of work from the office to the home. Image – Canva
  • A whitepaper has been published looking at the evolving purpose of our office spaces
  • It was curated by experts from Meta5 Group and the University of Melbourne
  • The future of work is it seems is flexible

When the pandemic set in early last year, many employees were migrated from their office workplaces to makeshift home setups. Are offices still a valuable part of work-life?

A newly released whitepaper examines “…the new way of working for the post-covid era.”

The report was researched and constructed by Meta5, a consultancy specialised in workplace strategy.

Working from home – pros and cons

While sudden and initially stressful, there were undeniable benefits from the new home setups. The ability to perform more focused work and improved work-life balance was cited as the top two benefits of working from home in a recent survey.

Move control over where and when to work, reduced commute and the ability to customise workspaces were other reported benefits.

zoom-collaboration
Face to face collaboration is irreplaceable. Image – Canva

While many predicted that these benefits along with cost-saving factors would mean a death sentence for offices, the report suggests that this is unlikely to come to fruition.

Creativity and collaboration were stunted by working from home. It seems no zoom call or slack chat can replace a face to face office conversation.

77% of employees say they miss the “energy” of the workplace. Working from home has also been linked to increased feelings of burnout.

The new role of the office

Face to face collaboration was cited as the number one reason to return to work.

New-office-role
The office’s new role. Image – Meta5

 

The future is flexible

The resounding takeaway from the report is that flexibility is the future.

As people return to work their routine is likely to change. A typical pre-pandemic week saw employees spending 4.5 days at the office. ‘Back to Work’ surveys suggest that the average week will include 2-3 days in the office with the remainder spent working from home.

The whitepaper was created in collaboration with the University of Melbourne. Research professor, Christhina Candido, from the university’s Sustainable and Healthy Environments Laboratory believes the pandemic has lead to a “reimagining” of the office.

“The last year has shown that flexible working arrangements really are possible at scale.”

Christhina Candido, University of Melbourne professor

“After this experience of working away from the office, lots of people are asking the question of whether they need to go back, or rather, what they want to go back for. Workers feel entitled to have access to more flexible working arrangements and that they have earned the right to do so, ”

“Lots of companies had flexible working policies in place before 2020, but only a minority were engaging – perhaps one or two people in a team for very specific reasons. The last year has shown that flexible working arrangements really are possible at scale. There’s also a secondary learning that we really don’t need to be bound to a specific location to do our best work, or even our work at all.”

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