Designing Professional Spaces

Designing Professional Spaces: How Do Employees Aspire to Work in the Future?

Over the past few months, the pandemic has caused a seismic shift in work and lifestyle patterns. Workers have adapted to remote work while adhering to health and safety guidelines, revealing a desire for greater flexibility and new hybrid work models.

Employees are increasingly experiencing virtual fatigue or burnout and are increasingly eager to return to the office most of the time. This suggests that offices will be more important than ever as the center of the work ecosystem, and exceptional office environments will remain an essential means of engaging employees.

But how can we inspire employees to work in the future?

Discover the 7 key messages:


1. Work-life balance is the new priority for employees, far surpassing salary considerations.

Remote work has been such a revolution that employees are focusing on its benefits and tend to be less affected by the blurring of boundaries between their professional and personal spheres. They expect their employers to incorporate more flexibility into the salary package offered: 88% want flexible working hours in the future. In this perspective, it has been necessary to rethink the design of professional spaces, as well as the design of home office spaces for employees.


2. Hybrid work has come a long way: Traditional workspaces are losing ground.

The crisis has allowed for experimentation: the more people practice remote work, the more they want to continue doing so in the future. Employees align themselves with global trends, aiming for an ideal of 2 days of remote work per week, split between 1.5 days at home and 0.5 days in third-party locations.


3. It's not about time management; it's about social interaction.

Employees miss the social aspect of the office. What they miss the most about in-person work at the office is informal interaction and face-to-face collaboration. 61% of employees crave "real" human interactions with their colleagues.

For this reason, the design of professional spaces must be adapted. Increasingly, open-plan office spaces are emerging. Few workers desire individual offices. Open spaces are composed of office furniture designed to facilitate interactions among colleagues without hindering work. Meeting rooms are provided to bring teams together. There is a renewal in office layout, and the work environment is being redesigned to promote well-being at work.


4. Long-term remote work takes a heavy toll on social and mental well-being.

Employees' sense of fulfillment is declining, and they are also overwhelmed in terms of mental load: 51% feel disenchanted, and 44% feel overwhelmed, having too many personal and professional responsibilities. Parents of young children and individuals living alone are the most exposed. Companies are more than ever responsible for the health of their employees: their physical health, of course, but also their social and mental well-being.


5. Remote productivity is decreasing.

Although employees' performance in remote work remains high, with 43% claiming to be more productive at home than in the office, this figure has decreased since the first lockdown, when 52% of employees reported being more productive at home.


6. Employees have higher expectations of their company, which must redesign their offices accordingly.

Although employees say they need to return to the office to reconnect with their community, they are also much more critical of their usual workplace. Only 48% are satisfied with their current workplace (compared to 60% in April 2020), and only 36% say they miss the office (compared to 46% in April 2020).


7. Employers will need to improve the work experience to inspire a desire to return to the office.

The more satisfied employees are with their office, the more they miss it. 69% of those who are highly satisfied with their work environment miss it a lot, compared to only 5% of those who are not really satisfied today. Employees expect their employers to offer them completely redesigned professional spaces, taking into account the human aspect, well-being, and ecological considerations. They also aspire to offices connected to nature and equipped with digital tools.

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