Office spaces reinforce corporate culture and employees’ feeling of belonging. However, with teleworking continuing, they are destined to take on new forms... the full extent of which we have not yet seen!
As Annick Vandenbulcke, Managing Director & Head of Occupier Services at Colliers, sums up, "every company now has to identify the best way for its employees to return to the office. It is clear that teleworking is set to continue to a varying extent depending on the type of company. Within a company itself, teams may also opt for different arrangements, some choosing to work face-to-face one week a month, others 2 days a week."
At present, there are many uncertainties about return-to-work solutions. Internal company policies and individual employee choices must be taken into account. We will evolve by trial and error until we reach a more stable form. What is certain, however, is that office spaces will have to adapt. As our interviewer explains, "people will no longer come to the office out of obligation but out of desire, mainly to meet their colleagues and work together."
More formal and informal meeting places
This will result in the transformation of standardised workspaces into meeting, collaboration and brainstorming spaces, including informal meeting places. "There will also be a growing need for more flexible structures. Elements such as movable partitions and furniture will make it possible to rearrange offices as needed," says Annick Vandenbulcke.
We could also see the coexistence, within the same buildings, of spaces dedicated to a specific company at the same time as coworking. "Allowing workers from other companies or independent service providers access to these spaces would allow companies to avoid having empty offices at certain times of the year. Conversely, they could always access them in the event of a work overload or large meetings. In any case, concludes our interlocutor, "flexibility will be the order of the day, including in terms of the services accessible in these spaces. For the time being, we are still in the experimentation phase."
Text: Philippe Van Lil