The global pandemic brought office life to its knees, and working from home marched in as the big new ‘I am’. Corporations fell in love with escalated productivity and, across the planet, announced colleagues should continue working from home, at least in part, for the foreseeable future, too. So what does that mean for the humble traditional office? Is this the end, my friend?
Some people have slipped comfortably into their pyjama-driven work-from-home model. For employees, more free time, less money spent on commuting, greater flexibility and better eating and exercising habits tick the work-life-balance boxes. But scratch beneath the surface and working from home is not the blissful experience we all believe it to be.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that human beings need social interaction. Losing social connection has cut society deeply and stands out as the root cause of mental suffering throughout the pandemic. Those seemingly innocuous chats by the kettle, in the office’s break room or in passing to the printer have been replaced by silence and intense video calls.
Work eats into every moment of every day as we choose to start early or finish late – then both – because there’s simply nothing else to do. Creative collaboration has collapsed into assembly-line productivity. We’re now realising that working from home was great – right up until it wasn’t.
We’ve learnt lessons, and the post-COVID workplace needs to apply them to create a hybrid environment. People want more than pre-COVID offices gave them, and more than their pandemic home office provided. Offices will need to be state-of-the-art facilities with collaborative spaces, social interaction, wellness centres, natural environments, training areas, transport links, free parking and opportunities for mentoring and shadowing.
Stunning architecture and bespoke design, such as those featured in the portfolio of dynamic real estate investors like GORE AG, promise to emerge as the commercial hubs of the future. Reimagined, the office remains an essential part of our lives, but those that resist change will become less and less desirable until they eventually slip into obscurity. When elements like this are considered, office real estate can be a good investment and GORE AG will continue to work on changing the future of office real estate.
Seen as a temporary measure, working from home felt like a win. But as that luxury became a necessity, its sheen wore off. The short-term measure drove us to short tempers and a hankering for the offices we once loathed.
We still remember that 5pm feeling, though, and flooding back to the office is unlikely to happen. Yes, this probably is the end of the traditional office, but not in favour of everyone working from home – in favour of a new, much more exciting, holistic office environment that is better than it ever was before.