The Future of Workplaces is here, and now!

While none of us knows what the future holds, we do know that when it comes to the world of work, things are changing, and fast. Over the past four months, the workplaces in which we find ourselves have evolved for all of us and at an unprecedented pace. Many of the transformations we have experienced will have long lasting implications on the way we all do business.

But what exactly does that mean for businesses, employees and our customers?

Together we will need to anticipate what we all be required to do to adapt to the rapidly changing workplace.

At the start of the year, our workplace experts predicted a major shift was on the horizon and set about creating an in-depth insight report, built by leading specialists to help all businesses prepare for the future of work. We called it ‘Office 2025’.

Fast forward 7 months and we find ourselves experiencing the shifts we imagined for 5 years’ time, happening right here and now.

From widespread home working, moving to a 4-day working week, online collaboration and a deep shift in consumer values, the methods in which we have always worked have started to evolve. We’ve seen an explosion in digital innovation, online collaboration tools, and focus on employee health and wellbeing is becoming ever increasingly paramount.

Homeworking has led to flexibility, increased efficiencies but it has also resulted in isolation, loneliness and blurred boundaries between home and personal life. We’ll all need to understand how we can support our teams and co-workers with these new challenges.

Consumer attitudes not only focus on green policies and environmental impact but have now began to centre around a company’s ethics, the way employers care for their workers, matters of diversity and inclusion and how they have demonstrated flexibility during times of crisis. Purchasers now look for values in businesses that match closely to their own.

Predictions for the future

As we begin to move out of crisis, and into a bold bright future, we anticipate the emergence of five unique and distinct forms of office environments with employees working flexibly across several of them in any one role.

Furthermore, as we progress to an increasingly digital landscape, the speed for future changes will continue to quicken. The impact will be fast paced marketing strategies and a revolution in the way we communicate with our customers. The pace of change will require new marketing skills, processes and strategies including a deeper understanding of consumer psychology.

Creativity and collaboration will displace administration activities. ‘Employee experience’ will be a priority; workplace support will be seen as crucial and recognition of the strengths of analogue and paper-based office supplies will remain strong, but with users seeking not to share these items.

The digital office will have a more human feel as voice control becomes commonplace. Meeting areas will be rich with digital and analogue support as we develop a better understanding of complex mixes of digital and human activities.

Businesses will compete through mental and physical well-being, workplace experience and through ambitious zero-waste and carbon targets. Responsible sourcing of products will be a major influence on purchase decisions.

So what’s next? How can we support you to stay one step ahead of these new challenges?

We need practical solutions and fast. But to do this, we need to pay close attention to the changing workplaces, to the key influencers of those changes and to the wider world around us.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to gain valuable insight from our customers, our specialists, our suppliers and the wider public.

We’ll be conducting a combination of research projects, from focus groups, and surveys to in-depth interviews.

Your feedback will be invaluable in shaping the future of the workplace and helping us to all work together to support each other in this new phase.

Stay tuned to LinkedIn to find out more.