As the pandemic evolves, the future of work becomes one of the hottest topics among businesses and employees. Working remotely from home, going back to the workplace, or implementing a hybrid working model has become one of the approaches that employers adopt from the perspective of maintaining productivity as they go through the changes in work mode.

After all, a better output from each employee improves a company’s overall health and growth — and when time is money, it’s not a far leap for productivity to become a top priority. While businesses are adapting to the “next to normal” with the pandemic stabilizing over time, one of the most significant changes in the critical role of safety and precautionary measures played in flexible workspace nowadays.

Moreover, it is worthwhile to look into the spectrum of factors that may bring the best for employees, and in many ways, that may include flexibility in movement and activities, interaction for job fulfillment and productivity, and intuitive space design and technology enablement that drives efficiency.

As JLL’s latest Asia Pacific Human Performance Indicator (HPI) results in March 2021 revealed, “High Performers” are those that have access to a high impact work environment, and they would likely thrive in a hybrid work model enabled by a wide range of sophisticated spaces, technology tools, and work practices. Let’s dive deeper into the key attributes that might collectively impact employees’ productivity while taking care of their wellbeing and satisfaction.

Improve employee focus and satisfaction by encouraging movement and activity

Missing your time in the office and the fun and inspiring chat with colleagues? Indeed.

Research has shown that being active within a workspace and moving regularly throughout the day brings many benefits from making it easier to focus and enhance productivity to driving employee satisfaction.

With this in mind, some employers are finding ways to provide a wide range of sophisticated spaces to meet the evolving needs of the employees in the post-pandemic era. As traditional office tends to be relatively more rigid in space, some businesses now explore to settle in a flexible workspace where employees can move around and interact with other members of the space, such as from a hot desk in an open area to a couch, or even stay in private areas like phone booths and conference rooms for deep focus, while enjoying the freedom to move things around.

No matter what the team size is, be it an agile team of two or an expanding team of 20, they can easily find a quiet space to stay focused, or get an open, collaborative space for an effective brainstorm. With the availability of a flexible space enabling movement and activity, it would be easier for employees to stay focused and remain productive with satisfaction.

Improve connection to enhance job fulfillment and productivity

The time working from home during the pandemic has also triggered a sense of disconnection between people. Even for those who have fully embraced remote work, there is a nagging feeling that something is missing when the team is not all in the same room together. Those tiny, innovation-driving intellectual collisions that happen in office hallways and casual lunches are hard to replicate remotely. A smart and people-centric workplace design can help solve this issue as social distancing can still be maintained without compromising safety, comfort, and human interactions.

Businesses can leverage flexible workspace to save costs in redesigning or changing configurations of the office, while the employees can meet and interact with one another, or even people from other companies, throughout a day of work.

According to Harvard Business Review, employees can productively benefit from being around their peers and newly hired employees are advised to be located in the same office with experienced peers to learn informally in person. Humans are all social beings.  While a larger meaningful goal is being focused on, with both mental and physical energy and motivation, employees tend to feel fulfilled and connected to the work and thus contribute to increased productivity.

Increase efficiency with intuitive office design and essential IT support

According to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and can only resume their interrupted tasks after about 25 minutes. Is your workday, especially during the time at home, spent dealing with small yet distracting issues that could be easily eliminated?

Intuitive design can help address this challenge, in other words, the easiness of performing routine tasks, like printing, booking a meeting room, and accessing amenities hassle-free help employees physically and emotionally relax, save time and focus on what matters.

In addition, a tech-enabled workspace is essential in the next normal, be it well-equipped meeting rooms for video calls with remote teammates or a tech team in place to help fix any issues that may arise. The seamless work experience can relieve the stress of the employees or even make them feel energized and motivated. The thoughtful design of a flexible workspace can help businesses save overhead and fixed expenses with comprehensive facilities in place, and attentive support and service that make every employee feel being taken care of. 

The requirements of workplace design evolve rapidly in the next normal, from desk allocation, functional space rearrangement, or a new way of staff engagement. It is the opportune time for businesses to look for the best possible space solution that can help address the evolving needs of the post-pandemic employees, ensure their wellness and maintain productivity while aligning with the company’s values and goals to help the business to achieve more with less.

This article is contributed by Stephen Leung, head of Hong Kong and Taiwan at WeWork.