Why do people come in to the office?

According to a survey conducted by NCC, knowledge workers want a certain amount of flexibility to their workplace – to be largely able to decide where they work. Many also want to be able to come to the office. And when they do, they want to meet their co-workers. How can we help ensure that this is possible?

What does the new “hybrid work” concept involve?

According to the experts, hybrid work is more than just a question of working remotely versus working at the office. It also involves a more in-depth change of mindset and behavior. Today, work comprises more dimensions than ever before: consideration is now given to employees’ mental and physical well-being, human leadership, maintaining a sense of community, employees’ commitment to their work communities, coordination of remote and on-site work, streamlined use of digital tools, the suitability of people’s homes as workspaces, and the functionality of office premises.

Another closely related question is that of how work should be defined, and how people want to use their valuable time. In the wake of the pandemic, the value of cooperation, collaboration and togetherness is now understood in an entirely new way. People want to come to the office, and see each other, in the future just as they have in the past.

A company’s culture and style of leadership are reflected in its physical premises

The competition for labor has resulted in employers having to pay more attention to working conditions than before. Salary can be used as a competitive advantage up to a certain point, but after that, other factors are decisive. A major point of interest, particularly among young people, is the organizational culture. And in this connection, the office premises themselves have great significance, as many companies are fretting over the question of how to build their culture when employees do not come to the office with reliable regularity. Many of them have adopted a model wherein different teams decide their own rules for when and how they will meet. When all meetings take place remotely, it often proves difficult to foster a shared company culture. Managers need to have the time, competence and interest to lead in a way that serves people’s needs at an individual or small-team level.

Company premises now need to have a level of functionality, ergonomics, aesthetics and atmosphere that attracts people to come to the office. The design principles for office premises have become increasingly customized to each company’s culture. The “barrel of wishes” is bigger than ever. Companies dream of everything from childcare areas to employee spa areas, so that employees can feel more settled in the workplace and can better handle their day-to-day affairs.

Adequate space, proximity to services

The location of offices has always been important, but this importance has been heightened even further in recent years. People want convenient access to transit routes and everyday services, as offered by areas such as the city center and Ruoholahti in Helsinki, and Keilaniemi and Leppävaara in Espoo. These areas are host to several of our sites under development now: Kulma21, We Land, BEAM, OOPS and Axelsberg.

It can be difficult to estimate future space needs, but many companies have reported being almost full to capacity, and having difficulty finding room for conference areas or employee workspaces. Today, the process of designing office premises often includes people from many different sections of the company, and employees’ opinions are being more and more widely listened to. This approach often helps guide the process in the right direction, and affords an idea of a work environment that truly serves and enhances employees’ day-to-day experience.

In experts’ opinion, there are three decisive factors in the future of office spaces: location, spaces that enable creativity and encounters between people, and the proper distribution of space.

If you are interested in this topic, I recommend that you take a look at our study the Changing Face of Work.

NCC’s study “The New Face of Work” revealed 5 trends that will shape the future of work:

  • Hybrid work is changing people’s attitudes
  • It’s no longer possible to fake doing your job
  • The best culture wins
  • The time of soulless office spaces is over
  • The employees make the demands, and the employer obliges

The writer of the article Uku Jaatinen is Head of Sales at NCC.


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