In this article, we discuss the role facilities play as an enabler of innovation. The article is part of our blog series that covers the top 5 trends for this year.
Remote working is here to stay. As many as 65% of employees say they prefer working hybrid, part of the time at the office and partly elsewhere. With these facts, many companies are now wondering what type of spaces would best support the new ways of working. And as studies also show, employees cite flexible remote work policies as the number one factor that has improved company culture over the past two years. All adds more pressure on organizations to put serious thought into their RTO (return-to-office) plans.
Destination for socializing
Hybrid working is a combination of office-based and remote work. As homes become competitive workplaces, the work environment should provide things that staff can not access at home. The ideal hybrid office should have a variety of spaces, facilities for events, and community/team building. Hence, the office transforms into a destination for socializing and an enabler of innovation.
A new hybrid office should empower new ways of working, support flexibility and unite employees. The office has to present real value to employees. It needs to be worth the commute. In practice, this means a decreased amount of dedicated desks and more space for collaboration. Cross-department chance encounters cannot be scheduled or replaced with virtual meetings.
Equal benefits and hybrid collaboration
Home is often considered the best place for individual work that demands focus work or confidentiality. Yet, only some have a peaceful home office or a space to work, while others look for concentration at the office. It is crucial to ensure focus and well-being spaces for office-based staff. A fully adjustable range of work settings should enable choosing the best option for their workstyle and comfort level.
Moreover, an office must support an emerging need for hybrid collaboration, for which phone booths, enclosed small focus rooms, and well-equipped meeting rooms come in handy. They are suitable for phone calls and/or other short-term activities that can disturb or distract others. Intuitive tech and tools to share information seamlessly are critical features for this type of spaces.
For companies specializing in research and development, facilities such as service labs and maker spaces are crucial for developing cutting-edge technologies. These workshop areas are equipped with an array of tools and materials that are difficult to replicate at the home office.
In addition, the RnD environment is often equipped with an experiential meeting space, which provides visibility in-between spaces, people, and business units.
These facilities aim to demonstrate and experience new technologies and services.
Space as a service
The requirements of hybrid work should already be taken into account by estate developers. Properties should respond quickly to today’s changing needs, offer a high-level setting, and enable versatile encounters. At its best, the property supports the success of its tenant companies with its comprehensive services.
Investing in the location and accessibility of the site is essential for a real estate developer. The property should be able to offer experiential spaces, services, and encounters.
A successful customer experience requires a high-quality service ecosystem to support it. This can include, for example, lobby and restaurant services, versatile meeting spaces, and event spaces.
When planning future-proof facilities, it is crucial to review the current status and understand the needs of different user profiles. Be it designing a new office space for an organization or a new concept for commercial real estate. In both cases, it is all about delivering “places, spaces, products, and services that enable people to be as happy, healthy, and productive as they can be,” as Anthony Slumbers puts it.