The Covid-19 shutdown changed the office environment overnight. Those who could did swap the office for their own four walls at home. This trend towards working from home triggered a debate as to whether office space still has a future. The number of square meters is not the crucial factor in this regard; instead, it is primarily the quality of the space that determines its future viability. The office of the future is individual, flexible and location-independent. These are the key results of a recent internal survey conducted by the Drees & Sommer Group with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
The survey was conducted in July 2020. Around 1,500 of the approximately 4,000 employees took part, equally divided between men and women. Of these, around 90 percent are in permanent employment with standard working time of 31-40 hours per week. More than two thirds of the participants work in the operational business. Around three quarters of the respondents are between 28 and 47 years old.
The corona lockdown has resulted in an unprecedented field study of office workplaces. Pre-corona, not even half of the participants had worked mobile. Now, the vast majority (83 percent) can imagine working one to three days a week on the move or from home. ‘Before the pandemic, a trend was already apparent. It emerged even more clearly during the crisis,’ explained Martin Becker, Partner at Drees & Sommer SE.
Flexible Areas for Specific Tasks
This method of working from anywhere also brings challenges. The boundaries between work, family and leisure are becoming increasingly blurred. Just taking a few moments to reply to an email while the children are watching Sesame Street, or quickly revising the presentation at the weekend? When a person's work is done in the private sphere, one's own four walls lose their function as a place of retreat. Not everyone is comfortable with that. That's why the office will continue to play an important role in the future – if it is tailored to the needs of the users.
‘The office will change from a simple place of work where you have to stay, into a location offering personal contact, human togetherness and a network meeting point for dialog between colleagues, and with business partners and clients. So it is essential to completely re-think the workplace, looking at the overall picture of office, home, and mobile working in hotels or co-working spaces,’ the Drees & Sommer Partner and RBSGROUP Managing Director continued.
You can find out more about the survey in our press release.