As employees return to work after three waves of COVID-19, the focus is on hotelisation of the office, wherein more home-like comforts are offered to employees. Offices are no longer seen as mere workstations but also spaces that nurture human productivity, foster better meaningful engagements, and take care of employee safety, according to a report titled 'The Future of Offices and Workflow Design'.
The future of offices will be more about high-end services. The added services won’t always mean more luxury or comfort but will translate into better utility and the new office arrangement will be a mix of leased and owned spaces alongside flexible workstations, temporary workstations, and co-working spaces, the report by 360 Realtors said.
In the last 10 years, there has been a rush to get prime office spaces in the central business districts (CBDs). The trend has surely reversed in the wake of the crisis, as now increasingly enterprises will move away from CBDs. Enterprises will also look to reduce the overall footprint by letting functions execute in a WFH manner, wherever it can be done effortlessly, the report added.
Another important trend will be the gradual rise in co-working spaces. The popularity of co-working has risen sharply in the past two lockdowns and the uptrend will continue to unravel in the times to come. The low-cost shared resource model fits in very well in the current situation. Apart from freelancers, smaller enterprises, startups, MNCs, and larger enterprises will also continue to gravitate towards shared spaces, at least for some of its functions, the report said.
The survey report also said that 43.6% of respondents believed the popularity of co-working spaces will increase going ahead while another 43.1% believed that the popularity of co-working will rise but moderately.
The report also showed that more than half of the respondents believe the office will continue to facilitate meaningful social interaction in the times to come. As many as 71.8% strongly believe that offices will be used to attract and retain talent, while a little less than 44% believe that offices will continue to symbolise the brand value of an organisation.
Over 59% of respondents felt that there will be an increase in remote working while around 40% said that it's less likely. As far as virtual meetings are concerned, 72.5% of respondents favoured an increase in digital meetings while 26.5% felt that an increase is less likely.
In wake of the COVID-19, 79.5% of the respondents believed that there will be a thrust toward natural lighting and ventilation in offices while 63.2% of respondents believed that the use of air fresheners, sprays, etc. will increase to improve the air quality.
It also stated that 43% of people believed that the Omicron will impact the Indian economy while 55% of the respondents ruled out any impact on the economy.
“The offices of the future won’t be like they were in the past. There will be a growing focus on collaborative design ideas and new workflow management mechanisms,” said Ankit Kansal, founder and managing director, 360 Realtors.The research surveyed 797 respondents from a wide range of industries such as BFSI, IT, TMT, manufacturing, consumer, and lifestyle. While 24% of the respondents were from leadership profiles, 54% belonged to the mid-segment from across cities.