Last spring while lockdowns were still in place, corporate offices and organizations prepared for what they thought would be a return to the office in the summer and fall. However, people never returned and the first wave of covid-19 was soon replaced by a second wave.
Fast forward to today, many of us still work from home and it is now clear that the traditional office has changed forever. Recent research shows that only 15% of office workers want to return to the office 4-5 days a week post-covid, whereas 48% would like to return to the office 2-3 days a week. And the remaining 37%? They prefer to work from the office just 0-1 days a week after the pandemic. Not surprisingly, this development changes the office as we know it.
Big companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are all adapting to this new trend by allowing employees to work remotely at least a few days a week, a trend also known as hybrid working. Twitter even announced that it is now offering employees the opportunity to work from home forever and Facebook thinks it “could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently” within the next five to ten years.
Hybrid working disrupts the understanding about the purpose of a physical office. The physical office will continue to be important for the social work life - however, organizations will start using it for meetings, conferences, and co-working activities instead of day-to-day tasks. This means that corporate offices will transform into collaboration centers instead of the productivity hubs they have been for the past years.
With hybrid working the need for personal workstations decreases as fewer people will be at the office at any given time. On the other hand, the need for gathering space increases as the office instead becomes the epicenter of collaboration. To create a successful hybrid working environment and facilitate the use of shared resources such as desks, meeting rooms, co-working spaces, and more, corporate offices need to implement data-driven and intelligent smart office solutions.
Most corporate offices have a booking system that allows employees to easily book a meeting room and maybe even a desk, but once you have selected ‘Desk 87’, how do you find out where it’s located? The same thing goes for room booking. If you’re looking for a suitable conference room for your next meeting, it’s nice to know that room 4.172 is available, but where is room 4.172? You might also enter the office with the intention of sitting next to a specific colleague, but how do you find them?
By integrating your booking system with an indoor map you provide your employees with an unbeatable overview of your office space and empower them to make informed decisions. MapsIndoors is an indoor mapping platform that easily integrates with third-party data systems to show important real-time information on a map of your office. This way, employees will be able to see live occupancy data on desks and meeting rooms and book directly through the map. Furthermore, the platform equips them with indoor navigation so they can quickly navigate to their destination, and since it’s built with Google Maps technology they can get directions both inside buildings, between campuses, and even off-site.
A dynamic mapping platform can also be integrated with other smart office solutions such as ‘find my colleague’ solutions, empowering employees to see their colleagues’ location in real-time while at the office. Allowing staff the freedom to work anywhere on your company’s premises isolates them from their colleagues, making it difficult to keep collaboration high. ‘Find my colleague’ solutions are on the rise, and while location sharing may be a controversial issue, new technologies allow you to show employees’ location without compromising on data protection. With the new technologies employees are in full control and location sharing is often disabled by default. This means that employees have to actively enable location sharing when they are at the office. Of course, location sharing only works when they are on your company’s premises, but even when on-site an employee’s location will not be shared when they are in certain areas of your facility, like restrooms.
While we can’t predict the future, we can definitely start acting on the trends we’re seeing right now. Hybrid working and the office used as a gathering space for collaborative working might very well be what we’re looking into. Are you ready for this change? If you’re interested in learning more about the MapsIndoors platform and the opportunities it will help support in your office, our experts are always available and ready to help.
If you want to discover more about what the office of the future will look like, you should take a look at our free guide, The 2021 Office: Hybrid working, workplace safety, and technology platforms.