Though certain COVID restrictions have been lifted in Singapore, the pandemic continues to pose a problem for everyone worldwide – particularly those anxious as unknowns persist. With new COVID variants seemingly emerging now and then, such as the Omicron sub-variant called BA.2.12.1, many are asking if office space and the conventional way of working still have a place in the future. While some businesses are pushing for a return to the office, others have fully embraced remote work on an enterprise scale. Companies like Microsoft, Twitter, and Square are some of the notable ones that will allow their employees to work from home forever.
But, as many are now aware, working from home is only a short-term solution amid the current pandemic, given its glaring downsides. Isolation, communication issues, low motivation, drop in performance, lack of clear boundaries between personal and work life, and many more issues fill the list of problems experienced by the typical work from home (WFH) employee.
Architecture and design serve a purpose in man-made environments. When it comes to our homes, productivity was not the main intention but feelings of cosiness, safety, and relaxation. Even when it is outfitted with ergonomic furnishings and space reminiscent of offices, it still lacks the psychological and social element that makes a proper workspace.
Why workspaces will remain relevant
Back when freelancing was gaining traction in the early 2000s, working from home became the trend that initially thrilled many remote workers, startup founders, and solopreneurs. After the honeymoon phase, they faced the same problems modern working employees now experience.
People then realised just how incredibly valuable a work environment is at boosting productivity and enabling employees to connect with like-minded peers. It was a place that was neither the local coffee shop nor home office, but somewhere professionals could easily exchange ideas, belong to a community, and have their daily dose of social interaction.
With the masses now aware of the benefits of remote working but still long for the advantages of office work, they now seek a new and flexible approach to office space.
Coworking spaces could be the hybrid, flexible, and decentralised solution for all
Coworking spaces were the answer to the demand for a flexible and community-oriented work environment that the remote workers from years ago wanted. It seems history is repeating itself, with millions of WFH employees now looking for the same thing. International Workplace Group (IWG) recently conducted research that saw six out of ten workers wanting to return to the office when their employers allow it. But the report also claims half of them would quit their jobs if required to work in the office for five days a week like in pre-COVID times.
Addeco also conducted their research, which found that 75 per cent of people are in favour of a mix of office-based and remote working, with respondents choosing to spend 51 per cent of their working time back in the office with the remaining 49 per cent remotely. Gensler’s research further supports this with their findings, stating that 70 per cent of people are looking to work a couple of days per week in the office.
What this essentially means for the future of the workplace
Everything discussed above all points to the same thing – the modern employee demands a new and hybrid approach to work. This serves to be the best of both worlds as employees retain the benefits of remote working. At the same time, businesses can still enjoy the perks of the WFH arrangement, such as cost savings on office space, access to more talent, and enhanced employee productivity, to name a few. Today, businesses have begun shifting from traditional offices to more flexible ones. Others have also considered renting small regional offices or desks in coworking spaces near where their employees live. This workplace decentralisation is quickly soaring in popularity that it has been dubbed the ‘hub and spoke’ workspace model, the ultimate hybrid combining a centralised office, regional workspaces, and a home office.
From an employee’s perspective, this model simultaneously offers the flexibility to work from home while having access to a proper workspace environment that is merely a stone’s throw away from their residence. In addition, it offers plenty of collaboration opportunities to peers who live in the same area and socially interact with them.
From the business’s perspective, they can generate further cost savings by not renting a large office space in downtown areas but instead distributing it into more affordable workspaces in less expensive areas. Giving employees access to better workspaces will also raise their productivity, which is vital for business performance.
The recent pandemic catalysed the process of embracing innovation and flexibility when it comes to the way we work and finally getting rid of the dysfunctional concepts of the office spaces of the old days. Centralised offices, long-term leases, and rigid working conditions are now a thing of the past and replaced with the right way forward – a flexible, decentralised, and hybrid working model.
With the help of GreenHub Singapore, get started on making the future of work a reality today with our modern and green coworking office space for rent. Our offices come fully furnished with all the office supplies and amenities your employees expect, along with greenery and natural lighting that boosts their mental well-being and productivity. Give us a call today at +65 6692 8000 and arrange for a visit to experience our offices in person.