With millions of people working remotely across the globe, many are wondering what a post COVID-19 workplace looks like. At Framery, we have been conducting in-depth research to understand the impact the pandemic will have in both the short- and- long-term. While we can’t be certain about the entirety of its significance, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations to better prepare for and understand the possibilities of the future, and how the needs of employees and companies might change. Our Market Intelligence Manager, Mikko Tamminen worked alongside his team to help develop Framery’s set of predictions and forecasts regarding the future of the workplace and the development of our pods.

We’ve found great success in our time working from home, making sure each employee feels supported and successful. Active and proactive communication is the key in a time like this.

SHORT-TERM

It’s expected that things might remain as they are for a while, with a majority of companies and individuals still working remotely––especially as the future of this pandemic is uncertain. At Framery, we’ve found great success in our time working from home, making sure each employee feels supported and successful. We never hesitate to join a video call given the notion that active and proactive communication is the key in a time like this. Expectations that we foresee continuing are:

  • Increased virtual conferencing. Popular tools like Webex and Google Hangouts will continue to be used to stay connected to coworkers and clients.
  • Employees will make their at-home offices more ergonomic.
  • People will plan out their day differently, factoring time in to walk the dog or help their child with a school assignment.
  • Individuals will be reluctant to be around larger groups of individuals, even as things might start shifting “back to normal.”
  • People will become more aware of their work-life balance since work and life are happening in the same place.

MID-TERM

When the world begins to shift back into the office and gather in social spaces again, there might be a large corporate movement to have a select group of employees regularly coming in––with other policies segmenting out members of the company to come in at opposite times. At Framery, we have been encouraging community building while being home to help provide that sense of comradery that we experience while in the office. We believe that this is a crucial step in ensuring that our employees are remaining productive and happy during this time and are excited to get back into the office when that time comes. Other trends we might see during the move back to the office:

  • The working environment in general will have to meet new requirements with individual workstations that are thoughtfully spaced out, movable, and easily cleaned.
  • New floor plans and office layouts will be considered to further improve social distancing within the workplace.
  • Floor plans will look different, be more flexible and space allocation will be adjusted. Companies will want the ability to quickly modify and scale their workplaces in case that something like this were to happen again in the future.
  • Workplaces will be expected to be more flexible and efficient, having office solutions such as pods and other movable furniture that can be arranged to accommodate new layouts.

Companies will want the ability to quickly modify and scale their workplaces in case that something like this were to happen again in the future.

LONG-TERM

Looking ahead, we predict that as employees grow comfortable and confident while working remotely, there will be accelerated protocols that allow for more flexible work from home policies––that’s not to say that the physical office environment will become obsolete either. We foresee the office becoming a place where employees still feel comfortable to come in and to get work done. Other notable forecasts:

  • Now that remote work feels so widely available, employers will have to be more mindful of the in-office benefits and perks available to staff.
  • Workstations will be agile and accommodating to what employees found successful while working remotely.
  • Spatial allocation will be altered to meet the new needs of businesses since many companies operated with zero office space during the crisis.
  • Surface hygiene, air quality and especially solutions that can help limit the spread of viruses will become expected, if not required by law.
  • Less work related leisure and professional traveling will occur, global business will happen virtually.
  • Telemedicine and remote diagnostics will be frequently utilized as face-to-face interactions are limited in healthcare.

Now that remote work feels so widely available, employers will have to be more mindful of the in-office benefits and perks available to staff.

In addition to the conversations we are having about the overall workplace, we have been looking forward to what the future of our pods will look like. With a heightened awareness on hygiene, Framery is beginning to think even deeper about materials, technology integration and pod specifications that will continue to ensure employee comfortability and safety. We believe that in the interim, it’s important to continue having conversations and educating each other by sharing useful information and ideas. While no one individual or organization can be absolutely certain about what is to come, we as a community can continue to research, innovate and educate to be the working environment of the future.

Mikko Tamminen