The evolution of the workplace

Social distancing

It’s been a strange couple of years for offices. Never before have we occupied them so little and talked about them so much.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a rapid move to home working, there has been much speculation about the future of the office. Will people continue to work mostly from home? What will that mean for office buildings and workplace design? And how will it affect city centres and those businesses that depend on office-based workers?

None of these are new questions for urban planners, architects and – of course – workplace designers. They are issues that C2 discussed routinely with clients years before the pandemic struck. In fact, for decades now, many organisations have been moving towards more agile and flexible working.

The current consensus seems to be that there will always be a place for the office, even if many people continue to work at least partly at home or in other dispersed locations. Some employees simply don’t like working at home. And employers understand the value of bringing people together in a physical space to collaborate, exchange ideas and nurture their organisational culture.

Before the pandemic, we were commissioned to design offices that were meant to be places for occasional collaborations rather than day to day working. This isn’t a new idea. And even offices with 100% allocated desks typically include a variety of spaces for collaboration, informal interactions and quiet individual work. Designed to be flexible, these spaces usually adapt easily to accommodate reduced headcounts and physical distancing requirements.

Despite the very real business challenges caused by the pandemic, this is an exciting time for office design. Whether you need to make some small changes to your existing space, rationalise and consolidate your premises to match a reduced headcount or take the opportunity to radically review your workspace, we would be happy to help.