Back to the office | New concepts for the future

Back to the office | New concepts for the future

Back to the office – new concepts for the future?
Which positive experiences of the past months do you now appreciate as quality you would not want to miss in the future? What has changed in your perception of the office world, what do you miss at home, what should have changed in the office, especially when normality returns after the pandemic? Is there a “New Normal”?

We asked you this deliberately open-ended question in September, in order to tie in with our fireside chat “Working environments after Corona“. The Covid 19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down: The spatial concepts and the way we have been communicating since then are now more under scrutiny than ever.

Home office became a big issue, but how attractive is it really? For those who had the chance to go into the “home office” at all, it was certainly a caesura that will have an impact for a long time to come. But the caesura also consists of the fact that there is possibly no freedom of choice about one’s own decision “home office or office”.

Many thanks for your interesting feedback!

To sum up, we can summarise the following: On the one hand, the Covid 19 pandemic may have presented itself to many as a real threat to existence, but on the other hand it has also released a high degree of pragmatism and flexibility – partly due to a lack of possible alternatives.

Structures and processes had to be reorganised as quickly as possible. First and foremost it was about the experience that many had to make: working at a distance and without physical contact with the team, or in short: the home office.

Remote working was an option for some even before the crisis – so the conditions for a quick changeover were more or less already in place.
But also for those who had to break new ground: the infrastructure, such as for digital conferencing or access to the company server via VPN connection, was relatively simple to set up.

On the other hand, however, a number of new challenges arose in the home office – starting with compliance with the DSGVO guidelines for digital supply at home, through to the lack of ergonomic equipment for healthy working conditions – keyword: office chair or large screen. In the course of the months, it soon became clear that the home office works – more for some, less for others – but it cannot and should not replace office work permanently and completely.

What is missing in the home office: the space for spontaneous exchange and informal discussions with colleagues.

So let’s now look to the future: we wanted to know what experiences could contribute to the design of the offices of tomorrow.

We found that many experience reports can be summarised under a superordinate idea, which corresponds to the concept of the “New Normal” that has been circulating for some time now: the coexistence of “virtual” and “real” – it will continue to accompany us in the future: The coexistence of “virtual” and “real” – it will continue to accompany us in the future. And the shared office will probably then take on a more prominent role as a place of communication – whether as a platform for personal discussions, team and customer meetings and collaborative work or in the context of idea creation. The office can thus become a significant carrier of the social dimensions that are missing in the home office, but which make an important contribution to job satisfaction, especially in times when people work more remotely.

In times of the supposedly unpredictable, office concepts score points whose furnishings can be flexibly adapted to the activities and occupancy capacities in demand.

If we assume that work can be arranged more flexibly in terms of space and time – in other words, that the choice between home office and office is becoming more natural – then the office could respond to this in future with flexibly configurable room concepts, keyword: activity-based work. Depending on the activity and requirements, spatial settings can be created that not only allow different forms of work and occupancy capacities, but also take hygienic aspects into account. These include not least solutions such as mobile separating disks with spitting protection or partition walls for screening, which provide the framework for safe and healthy working in temporary states of emergency such as a pandemic.

We would like to conclude these considerations with a quote from one of the contributions that reached us – because we see it as a good suggestion for every office concept of tomorrow:

“The future of the office will hopefully remain open and communicative with a greater sense of responsibility”.

By far the best choice for teamwork – if the office can offer flexible settings that enable secure collaboration even in pandemic times.

3x New Workspace Playbook from Dark Horse Innovation
were given to Public Link in Berlin, another communications agency in Hamburg, and to a law firm in Berlin – thank you for your contributions!

Cover photo©TeraVector
Project photos©Lydia Hersberger

Translation: DeepL