Ready for What’s Next
The workplace is quickly evolving. Which is a good thing. As a company rooted in reinvention, Kimball has a history of facing challenges and responding with inspired solutions.
Looking ahead, we envision a purpose-driven office—a place that adapts and responds to how people work, both individually and in groups. It’s not enough to get simply get by. We want people to thrive.
While many question the future of the office, we see a world of opportunities. It’s a new day. We’re excited by all the ways we can make work better than ever.
Creating the Future Office
As a new way of working begins to take hold, companies will need to adopt a flexible mindset around working from home, office footprint, and employees wanting both focused and collaborative spaces within the office.
Companies and their workers will become adept at balancing working in the office with working from home. In daily practice, the workplace will become a central hub for employees to connect, socialize, and collaborate.
Organizations that flex to their employees’ changing needs will have the advantage. This means being able to read how workers are settling into the “new normal” and meeting them where they are, sometimes on the fly, with modular furnishings and demountable walls.
Work-from-home employees will cause office footprints to shrink. At the same time, employees will experience a tradeoff between working from home and having a dedicated desk. They can also expect less desk space than before the pandemic.
Employees will need spaces designed for collaborative meetings as well as places to escape to focus on individual tasks. A surprise to some, Kuchar’s research indicates that people will depend on the workplace as a place for focused work as much as for collaboration.
Despite current events, the desire to return to the office (at least, in part) remains strong. According to findings from Kuchar, this can be attributed to the in-person benefits of collaboration. A company’s culture and ability to innovate are formed around people spending real time together. To get there, companies will need to embrace a plan that is flexible and purpose driven. Now more than ever, an organization’s values will drive decisions over how spaces are planned and executed.
“There will be more emphasis than ever before on company values, and how their physical space responds to these values. Office culture, location, and organization will play a large role in determining the footprint the company needs as well as types of spaces within the office.”
Kuchar, The Future of the Office
Preparing for an End to the Pandemic
Values & Attitudes: How Perceptions Are Shifting
To get a clear read on how workers are responding to current events, our partners at Kuchar design group in Chicago performed targeted surveys spanning age, position, employment status, and other details from workers in every state. The following statistics offer insight into where employees currently stand.
How can offices prepare for a return to work? When you spend time with the survey findings, it become clear: people want safety, flexibility, and ways to collaborate in person and remotely.
Safety & Cleanliness
The pandemic has put employee safety into sharp focus. Greater than 8 out of 10 expect their companies to take precautions to prevent the spread of germs and contagions. Space is also a consideration. Workers report wanting, “…everyone to have their own space and have it sanitized often” and “…more space between my coworkers.”
Dedicated Individual Workspace
For health reasons, privacy, or otherwise, a majority of workers want space to themselves for focused work, calls, or video meetings. Offering employees a space with a door doesn’t override the desire for collaboration; it means accommodating a balance of both.
The work-from-home reality of the pandemic has caused workers to embrace technology geared toward collaboration and connection. Knowing that many plan to spend at least part of the week working from home, there’s an expectation that employers will equip them for remote collaboration.
|80%||enjoy working from home|
|41%||say they’re as, or more, productive than before|
|82%||want their company to stop the spread of germs and contagions after the pandemic|
|60%||would prefer a private office with a door|
|48%||would like a dedicated desk with personal storage|
|56%||want to work from the office half of the time, at least|
|52%||look forward to collaborating with coworkers|
|87%||say job satisfaction is the same or has increased from home|
|24%||responded favorably to 100% work from work|
|20%||responded favorably to 100% work from home|
Need a hand?
If you’re like a lot of businesses, there are bound to be questions on how to equip your office for life after the pandemic. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, retrofitting existing Kimball products, or in need of new solutions, our team is here to help.