The Face of the New Workplace

Previously, the dominant trends of the workplace were to support new ways of working and high levels of collaboration to enhance productivity, creativity, innovation, and agility. Entering into 2020, these trends have been challenged by COVID-19.

In this new reality, with employee safety being a key priority, we anticipate additional barriers fitted between socially distanced desks, wider corridors and doorways, more partitions between departments, and a lot more staircases. Spaces are now less likely to flow into each other so much while prioritising hygiene practices, and the density in offices will change.

COVID-19 has also prompted many of us to rethink our work processes and embrace remote working. This is likely to accelerate the trend towards more flexible and remote working. In the future, organisations will have to accommodate a liquid workplace strategy. Workplace trends also point towards greater flexibility, autonomy, mobility, and digitalisation. Organisations may not be taking full advantage of digital workspaces yet, but as the transformation progresses, we will need to define an optimum mix between home working and physical presence. We’ve discussed many of these changes that will impact the workplace in our whitepaper, A Quantum Shift in Work.

Our latest initiative, Rise with Sodexo, supports organisations to reopen safely and address the needs of our new reality. Rise with Sodexo leverages on Wx, our in-house space consultancy, to help organisations accommodate a liquid workplace strategy based on Activity-Based Working principles. Wx assists organisations in reconsidering the requirements for the future workplace and preparing for success.

Activity-based working is becoming the preferred alternative to open-plan working, as employees are given the freedom to choose where they complete particular tasks in the office. The design of spaces includes formal and informal areas, taking into account the continued need for collaboration and creativity. The desire for interaction is something that has come across strongly during this pandemic and will be here to stay in our future workspace.

When it comes to the ideal workplace layout, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it is important to have bespoke tools and methodologies underpinning a data-driven, people-centred approach. Sources of data will include insight from the users of different spaces, real-time sensor readings and simulations of long-term effects of certain design choices. Artificial intelligence is integrated into the design process to optimise the safe use of space.

Anonymised sensor technology can provide unprecedented insight into how many employees are using a space, where people meet each other, and whether they keep a physical distance. Analysis of this data can help build a complete picture of how effective a workplace is, and its ability to mitigate and slow the spread of COVID-19 through physical distancing.

How do you envision the future workspace? We invite you to rise with Sodexo and build a safe, sustainable, and innovative world together.

Learn more about Rise with Sodexo

You can hear from Abel Ariza, Segment Director Singapore & Vietnam; Country President Korea at Sodexo at the forthcoming virtual Wellbeing @ Work Summit on 16 September. Further details here

Abel Ariza Sodexo

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