The end of the office as the only place of productivity is here
The future of work is arriving rapidly. Until recently, for millions of us office workers, work was limited to being done solely in the corporate office. The office was the epicenter of work. Everyone had to go there, whether they wanted to or not. For a long time (100 years?), that was fine. Characterized by fixed office hours, everyone had his/her fixed workplace and there were clear rituals (such as the famous "Watercooler Meetings" and long coffee breaks. Traditionally, we flocked daily from near (and sadly for some) far to the temples of busyness. Whether this was always efficient, resource-saving, and sensible? There was no need to answer these questions because there was no alternative to the situation.
Home office (work from home) was reserved for a select few (or outcasts), often unwanted by management and (technically) unthinkable.
Remote work, which is generally understood to mean working outside the company office, was reserved for sales representatives, freelancers, and solopreneurs. Flexitime was regarded as the highest of all feelings in a flexible working world.
And a location-independent work and lifestyle? That was something only for the oddballs of the economic system: the digital nomads.
A pandemic accelerates the future of work
With the pandemic, everything suddenly changed: Offices had to remain closed, the home office became ubiquitous. As a result, many companies began to open up to more flexible working models. What had been technically possible for a long time has now also arrived in the minds of managers: The age of remote work and hybrid forms of work has finally begun.
In the second year of the pandemic, the trend continues and it is now becoming clear that hybrid forms of work are here to stay and are often already taken for granted among younger professionals. Unsurprisingly, the youngest Millennials and Gen Z now entering the job market also graduated via Zoom and Co. Some have probably never even seen the inside of their employer's office.
More than just home office - hybrid work models and remote work
The new world of work has much more to offer than just the bipolarity between work from home and corporate office. We have taken a closer look at the new way of working and mapped the entire spectrum of work models (see also digitalconversation.ai): from full-time in the corporate office to full-time telecommuting and remote companies, i.e. companies that no longer have a corporate office at all, everything is now conceivable and possible.
100 percent in the corporate office, 0 percent remote work:
As soon as the pandemic is over, we will return to the office with 100 percent of the entire workforce as quickly as possible. Home office or remote work is only possible in exceptional cases and requires the prior approval of team management, executive management, etc.
Employees mainly work from the office and use the infrastructure and equipment on site.
A central office (headquarters) is extended by various local hubs (corporate co-working, public home offices). This increases accessibility and accessibility for employees without losing the connection to the company or even control.
Employees spend time in the office and also benefit from the advantages of home offices. It is important to distinguish between home office only (i.e., working at home) and remote work (i.e., working from 3rd places such as co-working spaces in the city, public home offices in rural areas, working abroad, etc.).
Work is hybrid, remote or in the corporate office depending on roles and departments.
Employees work primarily from home, co-working spaces, or other 3rd places. However, the in-house company operates a place for meetings, events, and for all those who cannot or do not want to work from home or remotely.
100 Percent Remote - Remote Company:
The organization no longer has an office. Employees come together occasionally, project or occasion related (e.g. kick-offs, retreats, etc.). Remote companies are an early sign of the future of work.
Vitra's four work types
The design company Vitra has developed its own system and succinctly summarizes the hybrid working world in four work types:
The first work type is the Workplace Resident, this person is 100 percent on-site in the company office. This naturally includes - as at Vitra itself - the employees who work in the workshops, for example.
The Workplace Enthusiast is the second work type. Enthusiasts work at home for a day now and then but are mainly present in the office.
The third type is the Workplace Citizen, who can work very well and a lot (up to 50%) from home or from other locations, i.e. co-working spaces or in the home town from a public home office.
The last type is the Nomad, who is never in the office and thus works 100% remotely.