The Office of the Future: Reimagining the Workplace for Flexibility and Productivity

May, 2022

As Covid-19 cases rapidly decline, companies are looking to get employees back into the office… But the office environment is very different today than it was two years ago, and employees have new expectations around what a productive and flexible work day looks like.

Companies may need to make significant changes to meet the expectations of returning employees. These changes will include new technologies to promote seamless collaboration and tools to effectively manage both spaces and employees. The result? A reimagined office – one where employees are engaged and find it worthwhile to visit.

The case for return to office

Working remotely during the pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear: There are certain features of the office that are difficult to replicate at home.

For employees, the two most important benefits of working from the office are socialization and coordination. Employees who want to return to the office are looking for opportunities to build relationships with their co-workers and to engage in-person with their team. About 75% of employees rate in-person collaboration as being “very important” to them.

A majority of employees value this facetime and look forward to returning to the office on a regular basis. In fact, 74% of remote workers today wish to return to the office at least 1-2 days per week.

In-person collaboration isn’t only important to employees; it can also impact companies’ bottom line. It’s been shown that promoting collaboration at work can help reduce employee turnover rates by 50%. Turnover is a significant cost, since on average, it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace an employee.

74% of remote workers wish to return to the office at least 1-2 days per week.

In-office interaction can also boost employee engagement, team communication and ultimately, increase total sales or number of new-product launches.

Another compelling reason to return to office is to realize a return on a company’s sizable investment in commercial real estate: The average lease for Class A commercial real estate lasts 8-10 years (Source: Gartner). While many organizations will begin measuring and assessing space utilization upon returning to office, right now, leases are still in place and there is a push to make sure the office space is utilized.

The trend of investing in a dedicated office space isn’t going away anytime soon, either. More than 75% of new leases signed in the first half of 2021 were for terms longer than four years, and 25% were for more than a decade. These percentages are consistent with pre-pandemic levels.

Building the office of the future

As we look to the future, it is imperative that the “Office of the Future” allow Operations, Finance, IT and HR managers to ensure the safety and productivity of their employees as they return. This can be done in three ways:

1. We need to make the office more engaging and worthwhile to visit.

Employees don’t want to go to the office just to sit on conference calls like they do at home. Companies must develop compelling reasons for employees to use the space.

Making the office more attractive for employees through new technologies, state-of-the-art amenities and planned in-person activities, can help lead to a more engaged workforce and higher employee satisfaction. Organizations where employees are engaged with their work achieve higher results by more than 200%.

Additionally, companies with engaged employees tend to see 41% less absenteeism. An engaging and productive office will lead to high employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

2. We need new, advanced functionality to better manage spaces and employees as they return to office.

The “Office of the Future” promises a more efficient use of space. In some cases, this will mean a smaller office footprint. In others, it will mean new, innovative technologies that help workers engage with the space in more meaningful ways.

For a more efficient use of space, two things need to be true.

First, employees have to understand what is in the office space, and whether it’s worth the time spent to commute. Today, 38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office. Employees need to feel confident they can come to work, and accomplish everything they need to in the office. That means knowing who is in the office, whether there is space to work and what resources are available.

image-238% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office.

Second, leadership needs visibility into how a space is being used. It is estimated that office utilization peaks at 42% on any given day. For some, cutting their square footage is a solution to contain these costs. More than 70% of CFOs anticipate their corporate real estate footprint will decrease in the next 2 years, and it’s estimated that companies will reduce their office space by 15% on average. A company with 1,000 employees in a top tier market could save $1.5M per year by reducing their office space by 15%. (Source: Gartner)

3. We need better collaboration across various locations for increased productivity.

Employees are not able to stay innovative, if they are not meeting each other in the office with the right technology in hand. 64% of employees say they want better technology in the office.

The “Office of the Future” will need new technologies that make the transition between working at home and in the office seamless, and communication more streamlined than ever before. Companies will also need to ensure employees can maintain the same increased productivity they have at home, when they return to the office.

The right technology can offer a positive financial impact on your business, too. Better technology is associated with improved productivity – in some cases by 17%. And 68% of surveyed businesses said their digital transformation efforts have yielded positive ROI.

Tools for a Smarter Office

To effectively create the “Office of the Future” we need new tools that provide both flexibility and predictability. That’s where Senion at Work comes in.

Verizon’s smart office solution, Senion at Work, can help promote flexibility and predictability in your office, for your employees and leadership.

  • Meet and work: Foster in-person connections with scheduling tools, attendance planning and near-real time smart meetup with colleagues in the office.
  • Plan the day: Help employees understand what resources are available in the office ahead of time with the ability to pre-book work spaces and resources proactively.
  • Make the office engaging: Experience the office in new, meaningful ways with indoor wayfinding and location-based smartphone notifications that help your employees navigate their day with ease.
  • Plan for the future: Provide leadership with visibility into space utilization metrics, to understand how a space is being used by employees and to find future cost savings and ROI opportunities.

What’s Next?

Providing your employees with the tools they need to do their best work isn’t just in their best interest – it’s also good for your company’s bottom line. To build the “Office of the Future”, companies will need to provide new tools that:

  • Make the office more worthwhile to visit.
  • Allow companies to manage spaces and how their employees utilize them as they return to office.
  • Empower employees to work seamlessly and productively across various locations.

As the office continues to evolve, companies that put flexibility and predictability at the center of their approach will come out ahead. Are you ready to build your “Office of the Future,” today?