Post-pandemic, what is an office actually for?

As we all rediscover our work/life balance post-Covid, there are some interesting shifts in how we’re now working. I know not a single friend or colleague who has maintained the same working pattern or the same relationship with their office.  

Which begs the question, what is an office for now?

Previously, as pointed out by Martin Henn in this fascinating piece, workplaces were evolving into lifestyle workspaces. Stay at work, feel ‘at home’ and work longer hours etc. but isn’t that unnecessary when we’re at home now and not needing this flexibility? The playground-esque office spaces spaces, all gyms, beer on tap, gyms intended to make work a more joyous, more engaging experience, feel a little dated. They’re designed to keep is in the office as a constructed substitute to home, while we’re actually working from home.

When we ‘office’ we want collaborative working. We want creativity and inspiration. We want to be fuelled but our colleagues and driven by their conversations. Do we need ‘nap rooms’, quiet spaces, workout spaces or other things we get at home?

At my Smart Desk, we’ve been championing flexible working for several years. But we also believe that when we come to work, we work closely with our our amazing colleagues. We believe in a transformative space, creative and inspiring and our workspace allows our desks to fuel standup meetings, creative expression and strategic plans usually scribbled in various colours on the tempered glass desk top. 

Our relationship with work is forever changed, but the physical space we work in seems is being rethought and needs to carefully reflect the needs of its inhabitants. It seems ‘the office’ is once again in a quest to find its purpose.

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Photography by Werner Huthmacher, Sebastian Dörken & HGEsch

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