This year, we’ve completed a vast range of workplace strategy, design and fit-out projects for clients in over a dozen major cities - everywhere from Edinburgh to Budapest - and, crucially, in a landscape that has radically changed.
Working amidst a number of government updates, local lockdowns, health and safety restrictions and Brexit supply shortages, there has obviously been a shift in the way people think about the modern workspace - and what they expect from it.
One issue that stood out the most was how to preserve culture when the office environment has changed so much.
Deloitte’s Return to Workplace Survey supports this trend, with “maintaining culture” coming up as the top employer concern when developing onsite/remote/hybrid office strategies.
Further research by PwC in January 2021 revealed that although 83% of the organisations surveyed rated their organisation’s pivot towards remote working a success, only 5% thought their company culture would survive a permanent shift to remote working. And, 62% of those same executives believed their organisation would need 2-5 days a week to keep their culture alive.
Well, the good news is, workforces around Europe are managing to adapt and keep their culture alive.
Over the next month, we will be sharing the six trends you need to keep ahead of the curve as we head into 2022.
Trend #1: Demand for more flexible workspaces
Simply put: the future of work is flexible.
But traditionally when you think of flexible working, coworking offices spring to mind; spaces where professionals from all different walks of life could come together to network, collaborate or simply enjoy a little company while they chip away at their daily tasks.
Or at least they did pre-pandemic - and in massive numbers. In fact, it was estimated that there were almost 15,000 co-working sites around the world at the beginning of 2019 (Us&Co).
But this concept’s taken on a much different meaning today.
Because although the appetite for coworking is recovering, “flexible” in a future-working world means creating spaces where staff can collaborate comfortably from wherever they are. What’s more, it means balancing work life with wellbeing when they are in the office.
In Czechia, attitudes towards flexible working spaces have changed dramatically over the past year. Employers are now thinking much more positively about changing these environments - once unimaginable for many.
And a major catalyst for change has come from a relatively minor detail: the office desk.
With the concept of individuals operating at their desks evolving, there’s a greater demand for complex workspace solutions. Consequently, premises need to adapt to what people really need from their company's headquarters. That means new zones for cooperation, mutual meetings, equipment for hybrid cooperation and spaces for creative work. But more than that, there’s an appetite for quiet zones to relax in and places that allow deep concentrated work.
But hybrid work isn’t an option for everyone - It’s easy to forget that when we couldn’t leave the house for more than an hour, some businesses couldn’t work from home at all.
Trend #2: Redesigning businesses that can’t work remotely
Although the proportion of people working from home more than doubled in 2020, it remained a minority of overall workers - in the UK, anyway.
Because according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only a quarter of people (25.9%) had worked from home in the week before they responded to the annual population survey. This was compared with 12.4% of workers who reportedly worked from home in 2019.
Makes sense with all of the work that needed to be done to combat the crisis; some jobs just couldn’t be done at home.
Areas that have seen a real boom are the pharmaceutical and light industrial sectors. Obviously, this is due to heavy investment in vaccine production and other critical supply chains which couldn’t work remotely through the pandemic. Consequently, our clients have invested heavily in the expansion of manufacturing capacities - with support from the local government - to meet high demand from the growing biopharmaceuticals market. This has been crucial in supporting the response to COVID-19 and vaccination programmes.
This was the case for our client Sartorius. After acquiring Danaher Corporation’s life science companies in April 2020, Sartorius decided to unify its organisational structure and co-locate new divisions under one roof. This new site in Havant would provide greater capacity for their growing team, while also playing a vital role in supporting the biopharmaceutical industry - more important than ever.
Sartorius looked to deliver the new 58,000 sq ft site; a complex project which would include large client-facing areas, flexible offices, laboratories, warehousing and outdoor spaces.
And a project of this scale took some serious planning and infrastructure to deliver.
It was evident upon review of the foundation details and geology of the area that additional pad foundations would be required. This would allow adequate bearing capacity to support the 20-tonne jib cranes in the 18-bay production space. What’s more, a power upgrade was necessary to accommodate the tools - in addition to the high-density vertical carousel.
However, it wasn’t just about the machinery; where they operated was crucial.
Critical to the Sartorius project’s success was workflow; equipment was meticulously positioned to ensure the best functionality of the space.
And this is a project that continues to evolve.
As Sartorius continued to play a key role in the UK’s response to COVID-19, the project quickly doubled in size. In addition to a 28,000 sqft production space, the facility accommodates a 4,000 sqft customer test laboratory to demonstrate the functionality of Sartorius equipment.
Can’t wait for the next blog post?
Our latest guide ‘A Spotlight Series: Workplaces Across Europe’ shares all 6 trends, alongside 10 inspirational designs and 1 ultimate method for planning a future-proofed workplaces in Europe.