At the start of the year, we discussed the workplaces trends that were set to take 2021 by storm and amongst those trends was the notion of creating the office as an experience. The ultimate goal of this is to make people want to go back into their office on a regular basis, rather than feel forced to. Businesses will therefore need to position their office as a destination their people will be happy to travel to.
Changes in the way we work
For over 18 months, majority of the UK workforce have been working in their comfy clothes surrounded by their home comforts. Now it’s time to open the office back up many businesses are offering a flexible working style to accommodate the needs of its people; however, that is not an option for everyone as it doesn’t suit every business.
Experience-based working (EBW) is an adaptation of activity-based working (ABW) with the main difference being that EBW focuses on the persons experience and shows an understanding of why a person has chosen to come into the office whilst ABW offers a person a variety of ways to complete their tasks, but it is all office based.
Whilst businesses will need to think about EBW and assess how people will be using the workspace, they will also need to consider how they arrange the space in order for those people to complete the tasks they came in specifically to do. Do they need quiet working zones for confidential tasks? Or do they need more open areas which could be used for socialising or collaboration with colleagues?
Bringing people out of the safety of their home working comfort zone is not an easy task, even with the Covid rules now relaxed across the UK. People are still anxious about returning to their workplace for a number of reasons; mixing with groups of people again, the commute on public transport, or simply just the stress of having to adapt their working habits yet again. So how can we address some of these issues whilst creating a space that people will want, and look forward to, work in?
How to create a destination office
Ask people how they prefer to work. Assessing their home working life compared to one in the office can help identify areas of the workplace that need to be updated. By listening to what people want to achieve when coming into the office, you can create a space that fulfils their needs and therefore offers an incentive to come into the office and can also improve productivity and retention.
We are currently working with a client who has done just that. Whilst they do offer flexible working for their people, they decided that their workspace needed to be updated to facilitate the desire for more collaboration and agile working space. We have combined these new additions to the space with a complete refresh to the office colour scheme which will now boast a biophilic design complete with a mixture of dark and warm green, with red and blue tones. This will give a more homely feel while also enhancing the connection to nature.
We have also recently discussed how the company culture can attract people back to the office. The culture plays such an important role as it is reflected in every aspect of a business from office design to the process of how you work. By creating the office as a cultural hub, people will become more drawn into working in the office as it can offer them something which they struggle to get at home – a strong connection to the business and social interaction with their colleagues.
Zoom fatigue is real, something even the Zoom CEO has experienced! Now that it is safer to do so, meeting with colleagues in person is a refreshing change of pace compared to the often temperamental video calls. Offering a space where people can collaborate in person, whether it be an informal chat in a booth or a formal meeting in the boardroom, is highly desired. In a survey we recently completed, 80% of people said they missed the buzz and energy of their workplace, something that can only be created by the people and activity going on around them.
Whilst working from home has been a dream for some, the reality is that we are social beings and need face-to-face interaction with our colleagues to build meaningful work relationships. Mentoring, personal development and general comradery between colleagues have all taken a backseat during the various lockdowns we’ve all endured and it’s time for that to change.
What we did
At Blue Jelly, our culture is something that we have vowed to always keep at the core of everything we do. To initially encourage face-to-face collaboration, we offered a team lunch once a week and ensured our teams safety was put first by making sure masks were worn when walking around, hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes were available throughout the building and ensuring a 2m distance was kept at all times.
This one day a week where most people specifically came into the office allowed us to reignite the office banter we sorely missed and meant we were able to have a productive day with full project teams available to review any new requirements and develop ideas. This has made our transition to a hybrid working model an easy evolution into our post-pandemic way of working. By creating a purpose for people to travel into the office, it made our office into a destination that we were happy to travel to.
We can help you turn your office into a destination too. Get in touch with our team today to begin your Blue Jelly journey and we can turn your dream office space into a reality.