The pandemic has changed the way we work irrevocably, according to researchers, who say there will be a much larger remote hybridised workforce in the future and workplaces need to evolve.
Griffith University lecturer in organisational psychology Dr Carys Chan said while the initial pandemic had caused a “culture shock”, the ripple effect on workplaces had been long-lasting.
Chan said that future workplaces needed to accommodate a more nimble workforce.
“What has really changed is the increased flexibility that many employees have today when managing their work and home lives—specifically the option to work from home more days per week and to flex their work-home boundaries when needed,” Chan said.
“An optimal model [of employment] would be a flexible working model that is based on employees’ work-life boundary management preferences.
“To achieve higher levels of work engagement and performance, a flexible working model built on trust and psychological safety is likely to be the predominant work model.”
Chan said there were two types of work-from-home employees: either “work-life integrator” who enjoyed working flexibly with autonomy to transition fluidly between home life and work; and the “work-life segmentor” who needed clear delineation between work and home.
Chan said organisations should refit offices with more collaborative spaces and private rooms to facilitate formal and informal catch-ups in the office.
This concept was captured in Cox Architecture’s research report The New Workplace 2021, which described nimble working as the next evolution of agile and activity-based working, which it described as a “hallmark” of the pandemic.
Cox Architecture director Brooke Lloyd, who is speaking at The Urban Developer’s virtual summit on The New Workplace, said workplaces in 2021 had to adopt a more flexible approach to the hybrid work-from-home model.
“The hub-and-spoke model for large organisations will become more prevalent and drive a degree of consolidation of CBD stock, and a rebirth of the fringe and suburban workplace sector,” she said.
Lloyd said the research had indicated four-in-five organisations believed ideation and collaboration was best facilitated in workplaces, and many of their clients had invested in technology, and flexible and spatially-diverse workplaces due to the impact of Covid-19.
The data that Cox Architecture has gleaned will be used to inform workplace innovation and design into the future and ensure it is fit for purpose in a post-Covid world.