Is it the end of the offices or its reinvention?

Is it the end of the offices or its reinvention?

I believe that design; at office decoration, architecture or branding (the brand design placed inside the offices), has the capacity to retain and make people feel better in a workplace. Additionally, it allows the company to bring a stronger sense of belonging with people of the offices and spaces.

Recently, I listened several people mentioning that physical offices would be over, that home-office was the future, and many companies such as offices renters, interior designers, among others, who had the physical spaces as their business focus, had to find another business

This way, is it the end of these physical spaces? Or however, a reinvention of them? Let’s see

1. Offices as we know are called open offices. These are called like that because of the needs to reduce costs, improve productivity, make the hierarchy more flexible and increase interactions between employees of new start-ups , which will soon take on relevance in the world market. However, these spaces have several disadvantages.

2. It can be added, according to Guido Stein, responsible for the Human Direction of the Business School of Navarra, that these workspaces are more likely to be infected and excess noise on these spaces generates stress. This becomes into higher direct labor costs, since the number of absenteeism increased up to 3%.

Have you feel that you are on your computer and you must attend something personal? Or do you even have to carry out a very important task with a high level of confidentiality, but you have your colleagues at your side, with the feeling that everyone sees what you are doing?

3. Other data: A survey carried out by the International Facility Management Association in 2015 “indicated that around 11% of the 538 managers interviewed found resistance from employees to an open office, saying that they fill a greater pressure”

As we see it, open offices had in themselves certain disadvantages that; even many companies, would prefer to omit. As consequence, these types of offices, as mentioned above, are more prone to contagion. According to Kelly Reynolds; an expert in disease transmission at the University of Arizona, mentions that open offices can be a risk for workers.

In this way, in the current situation that we are living caused by the Covid-19, this type of offices are the most affected, so is it their end? Or on by the other side, is it time for his reinvention? I definitely lean towards the reinvention.

Kate Lister, who heads Global Workplace Analytics, says more than 25 percent of workers are expected to continue working from home several days a week, representing a 4% increase compared before the pandemic. It is a fairly significant increase, but far from saying that everyone will be working from home.

As Niall Patrick mentions on Archdaily, one of the most widely read architecture websites in the world, employees are expected to spend at least 50% of their time working remotely in the near future.

The foregoing implies a reinvention of the offices in terms of interior design, ventilation systems, structures, signage and furniture. This will involve certain interesting aspects, let’s see:

1. There is a great challenge in terms of design, since its architecture will be strongly influenced by remote work and by the management of spaces more efficiently. Some people estimates that  40% of current workspace is being unused for much of the day (Archdaily, 2020)

2. We must focus on people.

This is a philosophy that our company has had from the beginning, focusing on people. According to the co-founder of Room (one of the largest interior design companies in New York), Morten Meisner-Jensen, “the problem we are solving is a human problem” as far as offices are concerned, adding “We need a quiet space, focused on work.”

According to Morten, the way companies have migrated from a traditional office to an open office has not been appropriate ”(CNBC, 2020). These designs were made thinking about cost reduction and the erroneous promise of productivity. In a world where the fear of contagion is undeniable, designs require a combination between the digital and the physical ones allowing flexibility in both home-offices and traditional places.

3. In some countries, there are ghost offices, which allow staff to be transferred temporarily in times of crisis to continue operating. This is because of the the fact that several jobs handle very sensitive and confidential information. In addition, access to the network is faster. Of course, not everyone can afford one of these sites, that’s why  the main clients are financial services agencies, banks, insurers, petrochemicals and real estate.

Undoubtedly, offices as we know them will not end, but the redesign work by interior designers, branding agencies, architectural firms, will be a challenge in an environment where they must be able to generate enough security for those who work there. In addition, they need to offer a space; efficient and emotional, for those who are there to feel part of the brand.