What do we really need offices for?

Attendance requirements, fixed working hours and prescribed seating arrangements determined the daily routine of many offices before the pandemic began. home office? Hard to imagine today without it, before March 2020, the term was a rarely spoken foreign word in many places, after all, most bosses would meet their employees on the spot in the offices. Digital meetings via teams, Zoom and Google Meet – this was rare before Corona.

With the onset of the pandemic, our world of work turned 180 degrees, and with the change, modern, flexible and digital solutions are finally being implemented. While the world is slowly but steadily freeing itself from corona stiffness, after two years of the pandemic, the so-called Establishment of the “New Normal” in the world of work. Corona has changed our everyday lives and thus also our workplace. So there can not just be a “back to the Stone Age”. The future of the office is marked by one concept in particular: hybrid. Neither the way back to the outdated work and office structures nor the ongoing home office situation offers employees sufficient flexibility and agility.

About the expert

Since September 2020, Stefanie Tannrath has been the first female CEO of Universal McCann (UM) in Germany and is therefore responsible for all 4 agency locations. Stefanie Tannraht has been active in the media agency scene for more than 16 years.

What we will need in the future is a mix of being in the office and working from home or somewhere else of our choice. The New Normal is characterized by the fusion of two worlds: the old normality before the Corona with the positive experiences since the pandemic, to create something new, something better.

Provide incentives to enjoy coming to the office

New working time models, new working trends and the introduction of agile working methods – the interplay between home office and office presence can create exciting new work opportunities and a new form of collaboration. Life in “New Work” is of great importance for the functionality and design of the offices. And it’s not about setting up a ball field or a gym. New Work must be thought of far more holistically, and that also includes the office. In order for us to happily return to the office and leave the safety of our homes, a transformation must take place in the workplace.

Finally, over the last two years, we have learned that it is very possible and productive to work from a place away from the office. Why should a person who has set up a quiet workplace in the home that promotes concentrated work return to the old-fashioned office? Employees will only be happy to return to their jobs if the offices offer incentives other than a safe home. In short, it is important to bring focus and collaboration back into balance and reflect this in the offices: quiet zones for concentrated work, conference and meeting opportunities for personal exchange and inspiring solutions for creative work.

Strengthen unity

Flexible workplaces can meet the respective needs and requirements of employees and offer freedom. The new workplace must be able to simplify work processes and at the same time be designed to promote collaboration with colleagues. Because the office of the future must above all be a place where teams and employees meet to exchange ideas and work together. The home office lacks spontaneous, social and personal togetherness, which is as much a part of everyday life as concentrated work. Personal contact in the offices also plays an important role in the health and well-being of the employees. The walk to the coffee machine in the office or to the colleagues’ desk provides movement that is often neglected in the home workplace. The loneliness of the pandemic and often working alone within your own four walls can also be counteracted in the office by working with colleagues in the office.

Office or home office – employees’ concerns need to be heard

Where flexible work models allow for independent work and free decisions about the workplace, fear can also arise as a result of the change. We need to listen to them and fight them together. While some long to return to the office, others do not want to give up the benefits and security of working from home. Those who choose to continue working primarily from home or elsewhere of their choice may, in turn, feel left out and neglected. It is therefore important to create a sense of unity for all employees in a hybrid work environment.

Equal treatment is essential whether you work from the office or from another location. Trust must be signaled to employees. Managers and managers must be available to their teams inside and outside the office space. Appreciation should be given to those employees who do a good job – whether it is in the office or the home office. Finally, thanks to Corona, we know that homework works and can promote productive work. Ultimately, the hybrid workplace must combine the company’s goals and the employees’ desires.

Meeting in the offices revitalizes togetherness, while existing home office opportunities promote flexibility and productive work. The combination of office and home office gives employees the opportunity to develop personally and exploit their own potential. Hybrid work can therefore also be seen as the interplay between several work preferences. Or to put it another way: as with the “New Normal”, hybrid work helps us to merge the old with the new and thus make tomorrow’s work world more flexible, more humane and more innovative.

Mission Woman – X-CHANGE

As one of the leading women’s networks, Mission Female aims to create platforms and make visible the needs of female leaders. Under the motto #notdoneyet, inspiring personalities meet for this year’s X-CHANGE to take a clear stance to reach even more on the issue of gender equality. X-CHANGE is a global leadership event that brings together influential and influential people from business, media, technology and finance to find ways to empower women. It will take place on June 29, 2022 in Hamburg and will be broadcast online. Tickets are available here.