COVID might be with us to stay. But the world is starting to settle into a new normal. Is it too soon to ask if we have entered the 'post-pandemic era'?
After more than two years of radical changes to the way we work, the world of work is starting to ask a new question. Rather than asking, "When do we go back?" we are asking, "How do we go forward?"
While certain key areas such as office occupancy are likely to continue rising, we also need to accept that some of the changes that transpired in the last few years will be permanent. Here are just a few of the ways the workplace experience has changed forever – and for the better!
1. Hybrid work is widely accepted
There was a stage, early in the pandemic, when people were wondering if we would ever return to the office. That question has been answered, as a massive number of workers all across the world have begun to split their time between the office and WFH.
In fact, in 2022 only 16% of companies were fully remote. At the same time, approximately 62% of workers are spending at least some of their week working from home. This shows that a massive portion of the world's workers are currently taking advantage of the 'hybrid work' model.
And workers feel that it's having a positive effect on their productivity. But just because people feel happier and more productive with added flexibility, it doesn't mean that they're not still seeing the value of the workplace.
2. We know what people value about the office
Now that we've lived without it, we have a clearer understanding of what we think the office is best suited for.
There's one opinion that is echoed more frequently than any other: if workers are going to spend time in the office, it needs to be worth it. Workers do value the office, but they value it only insofar as it can enhance their productivity, collaboration, and lifestyle. That's why it's so important to begin thinking about the office not as an obligation, but as a destination.
A modern workplace experience is designed around the needs and wants of workers. When an office is equipped with features and amenities such as bookable common spaces, modern conferencing tech, and wellness facilities, it can quickly become a major asset to its users. And that translates directly to more loyal tenants.
3. Tech has changed
It's been a busy few years for technological advances. We've seen touchless access go from almost an afterthought to a necessity. We've seen video conferencing become the norm across all industries and regions. We're even seeing the beginnings of 'the Metaverse', blurring the line between the physical and digital workspace in a way that we still don't fully understand.
As technology changes, it's more important than ever to ensure that commercial assets keep pace with the changing times. A modern workplace experience platform like Equiem can ensure that buildings are ahead of the curve in a range of areas including visitor management, bookable spaces, eCommerce, workplace culture and more.
4. Pandemic anxiety is down
During much of 2020 and 2021, workers everywhere were worried about the safety of returning to work. Many regions still had significant COVID restrictions and people were socially distancing from friends and loved ones, let alone collages.
As restrictions have been scaled back around the world and people have returned to a more normal existence, their worry is also beginning to subside. Anxiety around COVID is beginning to trend down as people recognize that it is now a fact of life.
The reason for this is two-fold. Many people are vaccinated and have even contracted COVID, rendering it a known quantity and reinforcing the idea that the virus is something to live with. And as governments around the world have eliminated or reduced restrictions, that impression has only been further reinforced.
The result is a workforce more comfortable with the idea of spending time in the office. With the pandemic no longer as significant a deterrent, it is time to focus on justifying the value of the office to workers.
We know that the office can be essential for workers. For the office to retain its importance in the future, it's vital that workers know that too.