Modern office design
23 January, 2024
Future Workplace: Elevating Employee Wellbeing for Productivity
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dynamics of work have undergone a seismic shift. Remote and hybrid working arrangements became the norm, with employees relishing the comfort of their homes.

Over the last couple of years, the dynamics of work have undergone a seismic shift. Remote and hybrid working arrangements became the norm, with employees relishing the comfort of their homes.

In this ever-changing scenario, employers are grappling with a delicate balance—navigating the advantages of remote work while striving to uphold company culture and collaborative synergy.

As we navigate new ways of working, the dynamics of the workplace are undergoing a transformation. It’s not merely about where work happens, but more significantly, how it happens.

The office, it seems, is not becoming obsolete; instead, it is evolving into a destination, offering unique benefits that working from home cannot match and as a result this investment in employee wellbeing becomes the catalyst for heightened productivity, innovation, and overall job satisfaction.

Work vs. Home: Striking a balance

Employers faced a conundrum, torn between the financial advantages of remote working and the desire to foster company culture and collaboration.

The home office offered a haven of focus and relief from commutes, but it also brought forth challenges like isolation and a lack of access to office facilities.

A nuanced approach is needed—one that blends the best of both worlds.

Jon Holt, the CEO of KPMG in the UK, rightly emphasises that a “one-size-fits-all approach” to returning to the office may create tensions.

Forward-thinking employers are adopting a longer-term view, reshaping workspaces to provide the comforts of home augmented by unique workplace experiences.

Balancing overheads and company culture

Balancing the books while preserving company culture is no small feat. As ways of working have changed, businesses have re-evaluated the necessity of large office spaces, and many adopted remote or hybrid models to cut down on overheads.

Yet, this shift often came at the expense of spontaneous collaboration, water cooler chats, and the intangible magic that happens when minds collide in a shared space.

The tug of war between cost savings and the desire for a vibrant company culture led to a deeper exploration of what the office truly means.

It became clear that the office was more than just a place for executing tasks; it was a catalyst for collaboration, innovation, and social connection.

As businesses look to the future, they recognise the need for a strategic balance that marries financial prudence with the fostering of a thriving work culture.

Employee Wellbeing

Understanding employee needs

A crucial aspect of this evolution is understanding what employees miss about the office.

According to a survey by Indeed, 73% of respondents expressed a longing for in-person socialising, citing serendipitous interactions and a stronger connection to company culture.

The commute, once seen as a chore, was missed by 50% of respondents, serving as a valuable transition between home and work life. In-person meetings were also highlighted, with 45% noting that video conferencing led to miscommunication and fatigue.

These insights emphasise that the office is not just a place for work; it is a hub for social interaction, routine, and a respite from distractions. Recognising and addressing these needs is pivotal for encouraging employees back to the office.

employee wellbeing culture

Social connection and collaboration

As the office transforms into an all-encompassing, it’s essential to underscore the human element that makes physical workplaces irreplaceable.

Humans are social beings, and the richness of face-to-face interactions cannot be replicated through virtual means. The spontaneous brainstorming sessions, impromptu discussions in the hallway, and the camaraderie formed during coffee breaks are the intangibles that contribute to a vibrant workplace culture.

The commute, often seen as a necessary evil, takes on a new light when viewed as a transitional period between personal and professional life. It offers individuals the opportunity to mentally prepare for the workday ahead or wind down after a day’s work.

The importance of these small rituals cannot be overstated, and they contribute significantly to a holistic and fulfilling work experience.

employee wellbeing

A guide for office redesign

While the comforts of working from home are undeniable, they offer valuable lessons for reshaping the office. Employees enjoyed the flexibility of using commute time for exercise and sleep, shedding light on the importance of wellness in the workplace.

Distracting noises were prevalent at home, but similar challenges exist in the office. Design interventions such as acoustic treatments and private workspaces can make the workplace more appealing.

It’s noteworthy that 60% of employees felt as or more productive working from home. To redefine the office successfully, employers must recognise that productivity hinges on individual circumstances. Tailoring office spaces to cater to diverse needs is key to optimising productivity.

Home comforts in the office

The office is not just a place of work; it’s becoming a holistic hub that addresses the multifaceted needs of its occupants.

Forward-thinking companies are investing in amenities and spaces that bridge the gap between the home and the office. These organisations are redefining the workplace to include coffee bars, prayer rooms, wellbeing spaces, and flexible seating arrangements.

Such additions are not mere luxuries; they are integral components that contribute to a thriving work environment. For instance, a coffee bar may serve as a gathering spot for casual conversations, fostering a sense of community.

Prayer rooms and wellbeing spaces acknowledge the diverse needs of the workforce, promoting inclusivity and mental wellbeing.

Flexible seating arrangements empower employees to move around throughout the day, promoting collaboration and reducing the monotony of desk-bound work.

Game-changing workspace design

We collaborate with business leaders and teams to create the best working environments.

Our approach involves understanding the unique needs of each organisation and tailoring workspace designs accordingly. The implementation of coffee bars, prayer rooms, wellbeing spaces, and various seating zones is just the tip of the iceberg.

Case studies of our workspace designs showcase the transformative power of a well-thought-out office. These real-world examples highlight the positive impact of creating a hub that prioritises employee wellbeing and satisfaction.

Crafting an enriched workplace

Crafting an enriched workplace experience is at the heart of this transformation. Forward-thinking companies are partnering with workspace designers, like us, to reimagine the workplace.

Offering amenities such as coffee bars, prayer rooms, wellbeing spaces, and flexible seating arrangements, these spaces become more than just a venue for work—they become communities.

These elements collectively define the character of a workplace and create an environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and employee wellbeing. The office, once viewed as a sterile space for work, is now a destination where employees actively enjoy spending their time.

The pendulum is swinging back towards the office, not as a relic of the past but as a dynamic, evolving entity— an adaptable entity meeting the diverse needs of modern workers.

By acknowledging the unique benefits of the office, understanding employee preferences, and crafting an enriched workplace, organisations can ensure a seamless transition into new ways of working, maximising the benefits for both the employee and the business.

The office is not just making a comeback; it is shaping the future of work.

Speak to the team at Maris