New normal – new places of work: How you can support users during changes in work environments

We are radically rethinking our places of work. In the new normal, we have more than ONE workplace at more than ONE place of work. The proportion of remote working is increasing – and our approaches to work are changing. To be prepared for future developments and requirements we need greater flexibility and the right mix of work options.

This raises the question as to what this means for the future of offices and the amount of space required? The answer lies in asking what the office can still do better than remote working, the home office, or third places such as the café round the corner or the fashionable coworking space. What benefits does the office offer over all other options? In other words, what is its USP?

The office becomes attractive to employees if it functions as a central meeting point. Or if it offers creative space for hybrid collaboration, acts as a place for personal encounters, and presents a contrast to remote working. In addition to providing a wide range of uses, the future-proof office must integrate digital offerings in an intelligent way. And ideally, it should also feature regenerative, healthy materials and products – all designed according to the Cradle to Cradle principle.

The one thing the home office and third places cannot offer is the type of personal encounter – whether random or planned – that creates new insights.​

The office is gaining new significance, becoming the brand touchpoint and a charging station for identity and integrity.​

During the lockdown phases in spring 2020 and since last November, many companies have asked most of their employees to work from home – and, as a result, have had to deal with the problem of vacant office space. This has led to the idea of permanently reducing seemingly unnecessary office space. On the one hand, this is quite understandable as COVID-19 is acting as an accelerator for remote working and shared spaces. But on the other hand, it is not advisable to scale back office space as a knee-jerk reaction. Rather, the momentum should be used to reinvest some of the potential savings to enhance the quality of the office space, its fitout and equipment.  After all, space is needed to implement ever stricter safety, hygiene and well-being requirements​. And there is another factor that should not be overlooked: Employers express their appreciation of their employees through the quality of the office space they provide.

Managing the change
Preparing for future challenges means ensuring efficient and reliable business operations and increasing resilience. Looking ahead, we must maintain the Continuous Improvement Process, monitoring and evaluating the success of measuresin the same way as we do the development of society as a whole.

Cultural change has taken place on many different levels. While there are some things that we miss, such as personal encounters, we have learned to appreciate other aspects, such as remote working. These changes also mean a cultural change within the company itself. And such changes must be supported by effective change management. First and foremost, this involves being aware of the lessons from the COVID lockdowns: What did we miss? What did we learn to appreciate? What aspects of the time before and during the pandemic do we want to preserve for the post-COVID era? Each company requires its own custom approach to the new normal – one that is aligned with its corporate culture and that harnesses the benefits of the various places of work and the different approaches to work.  

Now is  FAR   AND  AWAY  the best time for lasting change.

Further information on New Work at Drees & Sommer

A strongteam at Drees & Sommer specializes in the holistic design, planning and realization of future-oriented work environments and formats. Our specialists for New Work – User-Centric Consulting & Design – always focus on the user.

Thanks to the incorporation of RBSGROUP, which was founded in 1973, into Drees & Sommer SE, our clients get complete solutions. We call them solutions ‘from a single source’, even though a range of creatives are always involved. We will be happy to help you design innovative work environments for the new normal.