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Back to the office in 2021? Here are 8 things that will have changed

Back to the office? Here is the new normal

Many things have changed in recent years. Not least how we work in the office, which for many has changed its way from the open office environments to office space at the dining table or a desk in the bedroom.

Although more and more people are returning to the office this year, there are also many who remain in the home office in whole or in part. If you are returning to the office this year, you will encounter a changed everyday life, from the one you are used to from before the Covid.

This is a new standard for office work. We will again be able to do some of the things that we have missed in the home office. For example, small talk at the coffee machine, lunch with colleagues or a good round of professional exchange. At the same time, several new things and initiatives will become part of everyday life in the office.

8 things that become part of the new everyday life in the office

1. Hygiene and distance

Washing hands, disinfecting, and keeping a good distance from each other has become a habit and a regular part of our daily lives. We even almost wrinkle our noses at how it used to be. It is therefore difficult to imagine that the new habits will not continue in the new office environment.

The disinfectant dispensers will most likely continue to be found in connection with the various contact surfaces in the office - especially at the entrances and in the canteen. Just like most people will pay more attention to cleaning and tidying up after themselves.

In addition, we can expect that we will automatically keep more distance from each other both at the desks and in the meeting rooms, where we will be more aware of whether there is plenty of space for all participants in the meeting when booking meeting rooms.

2. Hybrid workplaces

A study by the danish analysis and consulting company Kantar Gallup shows that productivity has not decreased during the long periods of working from home. In some cases, it is even estimated that productivity has increased. One can therefore imagine that in the future it will be common with a mix between remote work and office work.

The workplace thus becomes a hybrid, where you combine all the benefits of working in the office and remote work, respectively.

According to both Cushman & Wakefield and Prior+Partners, we will also see several smaller office communities where you as an employee with remote work can drop in and do the day's work.

Such offices will typically be closer to the employees' homes so that the drive in the morning traffic can be avoided.

Also read: Ready for the hybrid workplace?

3. More technology and innovation

In continuation of an increased focus on hygiene, we will also see a trend towards more technology and innovation when it comes to everyday life in the office.

In an article, ZDNet has compiled a number of experts' predictions about the future office space. Several of them agree that we will generally see more technology and innovative solutions in everyday life. For example, more voice control and sensors, which allow us to avoid touching contact surfaces such as door handles, the coffee machine, and the like.

4. Shared desk

The more employees sitting elsewhere, the more empty desks there will be in the office. On a daily basis, there is no need for as many desks as usual.

To use space and desks most efficiently - and not have too much or too many of some of the parts - more companies will look at the possibilities of shared desks. Here, it will be especially companies that make it easy for employees to choose both the one and the other that will succeed with the hybrid jobs of the future.

Companies like IBM and E&Y are some of those that are already embracing the hybrid version of office work well. They provide employees with a flexible solution, and IBM has, among other things, developed a policy for remote work, so that all guidelines are clear.

Also read: Is the equipment in order? Setup for your flexible workstation

Policies are one way to go about things, Apps are another. Apps like Parkanizer and Officespace offer solutions for exactly the shared desktop. They let employees book their desk in the office, thus ensuring that there is room for the individual when he or she arrives. And at the same time, the workplace has control over the number of employees who are in the office that day.

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5. Multiple digital meetings

Another thing that comes in the continuation of the hybrid workplace is that we will continue to see many digital meetings. Especially the smaller meetings where a trip across the country for just 60 minutes of conversation suddenly seems very exaggerated will be permanently replaced by online versions.

We have become accustomed to the digital meetings, which have shown us that not all meetings need to be held physically to get results.

With the many digital meetings that have been held during the long periods of homework, we now have good control of the technical part with camera, screen sharing, mute/onmute, etc. And because we do not have to spend time getting to grips with the technique and at the same time can avoid the transport time, so we can quickly get on with the tasks and act on the agreements from the meeting, the meetings will be more efficient.

Also read: Do you know the rules for the home office in 2020?

6. Better collaboration opportunities across locations

The increase in the number of digital meetings and online work in general has made us better at collaborating across locations, which has helped to raise the quality of digital collaboration.

It's not just about better microphones and cameras in the meeting rooms, but about the possibility of using whiteboards and the like, where you can collaborate online by using the same digital whiteboard. Something that is especially used in connection with brainstorming and other development tasks.

You no longer have to sit in the same room to collaborate to create results, develop, and be innovative.

7. IoT technology that increases productivity

To ZDNet, Richard Kauntze, CEO of the British Council for Offices, says that it will become increasingly popular to use smart technology and other measures that make everyday life in the office better. It will help attract employees to spend more time in the office.

The technology adapts to the employees, so it is the whole office experience that is improved. It could be smart LED light that automatically adapts to the temperature in the office or the natural daylight.

It enhances the good office experience for employees and it has an impact on productivity and job satisfaction. It is a win-win for company and employee.

8. The office as the social gathering place

Although a large part of the work for many will take place as remote work away from the office, the physical office will still be the gathering place for the social aspect and for knowledge sharing.

However, it will be on new terms, as you can see in the previous points. The cozy talk at the coffee machine and lunch in the canteen will still make the office the focal point of the social aspect of life as an office worker.

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