The pandemic accelerated new ways of working and new standards for inclusivity, diversity, and engagement. Now, companies are looking to create a workplace experience that appeals to the four generations of workers who will inhabit these spaces — and to their new ways of working.
“Entire industries have become smarter, more efficient, and adaptable with data and insights. It is time for the workplace industry to embrace the same pattern using technologies like Density.” — Nellie Hayat, Workplace Innovation Lead, Density
Adapting to the new ways of working means embracing innovative, forward-thinking minds, like Nellie Hayat. Nellie is one of the most passionate, thoughtful voices in the workplace industry. She served for four years as Stripe’s Real Estate and Workplace Strategist and, during the pandemic, became an independent advisor leading the future-of-work movement.
We’re incredibly honored to welcome Nellie into the Density family, as our first-ever Workplace Innovation Lead. As she settles into her role, we asked her to share 10 predictions about the future of work.
1. Most companies who had offices before covid will move to a hybrid workplace model. Very few will move to fully remote.
Change can hurt a company’s culture if no good change management is put in place. Many companies who used to have a strong in-office culture would hurt their employees by going fully remote. However, keeping some offices as culture hubs, relationship-building opportunities and allowing remote work is the recipe for success.
2. The vast majority of companies in the US will have a growing population of remote workers inside their organizations.
The disruption of new ways of working and remote work is not sudden, contrary to what we may think. It started decades ago with access to wifi at home and laptops. The pandemic accelerated the trend and gave a stronger voice to employees and digital nomads who want to work remotely, move outside of the business areas and reduce their commute.
3. Even companies who are reluctant to move to hybrid models are going through an employee experience redesign to accommodate new ways of working and a new generation of workers.
The war for talent is real. To accommodate four generations of workers in the workplace and attract the best talents, companies will have to design their workplaces with different needs, purposes, and activities in mind and create a culture that allows people to thrive, grow and stay healthy.
4. A lot of companies will drop the word office and rebrand their offices as studios, places, hubs, collaborative spaces.
Dropbox, Google, Palo Alto Networks, and many more companies are already moving away from the old stereotypes associated with the office and adopting the simple motto: if it doesn’t look like a traditional office, let’s stop calling it an office. The new office will look more like a culture hub, an innovation center, and a workshop to allow learning and creating with like-minded peers.
5. Offices in the future will be a mix of the best restaurants, the most inspiring learning campuses, the most engaging community hubs, and the most serene retreat centers.
The Google era of foosball tables is over. Now companies are focusing on mental health, biophilia (aka indoor nature), personal growth, innovation, community building, and wellness. This will translate into a different office design as well as different benefits and programs offered to employees.
6. Every hybrid company will use technology to measure the success of their workplaces as well as an employee app to keep employees engaged.
By offering more freedom to employees, companies are adopting a flexible model, which used to be common in coworking spaces. Giving more power to employees to pick their desks, book a spot ahead of time and choose to come based on events offered in the space will be common practice in every commercial building, whether it’s an office or a coworking space. And companies will iterate their spaces based on data collected.
7. More real estate and workplace teams will merge with the people team to create a stronger and unified employee experience to all (on-site, traveling, and remote workers).
In the future, there will be no distinction between on-site and remote workers. Every single employee will have the freedom to work and live from anywhere. Teams will define their own rhythm between remote work and in-person meetings. All employees will have access to a digital workplace in which they will share knowledge, celebrate successes and speak their mind. In-person gatherings will foster a sense of community, belonging and joy.
8. One-size-fits-all is so 2020. The future of employee experience is flexible, multiple, rich, inclusive, and embracing of diversity.
Countless studies have shown that the most successful teams were made up of individuals with a diverse range of skills, backgrounds, expertise, and knowledge. With remote work, companies can now hire talents across the globe and bridge the gap between culture and countries. The challenge for companies will be to create a framework that welcomes and appreciates diversity and allows individuals to be their best selves and thrive in a multicultural environment. The opportunity for companies who can make it happen is that they will be the best places to work at and the most innovative leaders in their category.
9. Remote work will be the biggest catalyst for change in the coming decade.
We’re already seeing new products, companies, VC funds, and individual creators emerging to address remote work’s unique needs and challenges. This includes building virtual teams, making business travel smoother and more sustainable, organizing offsites for teams, and creating platforms to allow knowledge sharing across regions and countries. And it’s just the beginning. The Gen Z’s and the creator’s movement will push the world to the next frontier of digital, clean energy, social responsibility, and more.
10. The future will be better than the past.
The future is uncertain. But I’m optimistic about the future as I watch leaders take action towards improving mental health, wellbeing, clean energy, reduction in waste, increase of healthy living, and access to clean water and a good medical system to every single human being around the world.