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What is the future of office space in 2022 and beyond?

Feb 2022

The workplace has evolved dramatically over recent decades, shifting in line with the architectural and interior trends of the day, and also borrowing the wisdom of occupational psychologists who study the health and wellbeing of staff and organisations. Yet as we entered the decade of 2020, we were plunged headfirst into an entirely new office dynamic - the Work From Home (WFH) office, courtesy of a certain global pandemic. Our collective offices fell silent and empty, and two years later, we’re all considering whether we’ll simply learn to live with Covid-19 like we do the common cold or flu.

In this new world, what can we expect our workplaces to look like in 2022 and beyond?

The WFH revolution has started to run its course, with most people itching to return to an office environment that isn’t just a few steps from their bed. Offices still remain the best places to get work done without the distractions of home, whilst also setting the best conditions for collaborative working and creative brainstorming. Yes, offices can bring their own unwanted distractions, but intelligent companies are increasingly aware of this issue, and in a post-Covid world, they are making great efforts to protect and enhance productivity at work. The office has long reigned king for businesses seeking to get ahead and we believe that rule still applies. Businesses now need to work on delivering the magic mix of employee wellbeing, positive company culture, hybrid working and flexible office spaces.

What do people want from an office and how can companies deliver?

A huge cultural shift has occurred in the last couple of years, triggering ‘The Great Resignation’ as workers reconsider the importance of work-life balance and flexibility. As restrictions ease, people are less tolerant of a long commute, and ‘Friday beers’ isn't quite enough to entice them back. It’s understandable that workers feel this way, but a well designed office space remains a highly valuable tool for innovative businesses. Research points towards a healthy company culture being hugely important for staff retention and also attracting new talent. Business leaders are rightfully looking at ways to bring their staff together, to stimulate creativity and to foster community in their ranks. A modern office space like Collaborate is critical for the stimulation and sharing of ideas; for the knowledge transfer from the oldest and most experineced workers to the newest recruits; for the collective culture building that happens when teams work together under one roof. The traditional approach of buying or renting a large building for the company HeadQuarters is no longer necessary. And our UK city centres are not the only places where there's a buzz of activity. Local towns are increasingly where people want to spend their working hours, closer to home, perhaps walking or cycling to the office, and supporting the local shops and economy. This shift in mindset about workplaces now means company owners and employees alike can indeed have their cake and eat it too. For company owners, renting an office space in a fully-serviced building provides autonomy and flexibility, without the overheads and property management headaches. Moving your workspace outside London, and renting a serviced office space in a centre like Collaborate in Woking, makes so much sense, providing your Surrey staff with a modern workplace environment whilst also enabling them to be close to home., the local town centre and the Surrey countryside.

The hybrid office solution

So let’s recap. The 2022 office outlook is a flexible and hybrid mix - it’s the best of both worlds and can, if harnessed correctly, unleash a whole new way of working for individuals, teams and companies. A hybrid workplace solution, where staff mix both WFH and the use of a local  shared work space could provide the perfect answer. Here’s the most important benefits you should consider in joining Collaborate:

1) Flexibility when you need it most

Having a serviced office in Woking gives you and your company flexibility; in a constantly evolving world, adaptability and flexibility have repeatedly shown themselves to be a differentiator for businesses that thrive. Renting office space from Collaborate.works means you can be nimble, rolling and swinging with punches and promotions. You can react quickly, renting out more desks to upsize your team when you need it, or to downsize if your situation changes. Having a serviced office in Woking transforms the extent to which your business can adapt.

2) Mixing up work environments

It’s unsurprising home renovations were at an all time high after a couple of years of being nowhere BUT stuck at home. Google also saw an unprecedented increase in searches for ‘working from home’ content since the beginning of the pandemic. But from talking to our customers, we’re hearing they’re quite getting fed up with staring at the same four walls and they're grabbing the opportunity to mix up their working week enviroment. Never underestimate the value of a change of scenery for productivity, imagination and creative flair. In 2022, more workers will be encouraged by creative workplaces opening up and their week being more varied. Let’s not also forget to mention the perks of having a fully serviced office to rely on to provide the professional facilities that are often lacking at home - the large desks and ergonomic chairs, meeting rooms, super-fast broadband and well stocked refreshments. With no clearing up.

3) Getting social with it

2020 and 2021 have given some people a much needed chance to reflect and reconnect with their families. But it has also been a time of isolation and with little human contact. The pandemic had an unseen and often unspoken cost on our collective loneliness. The workplace is the perfect place for improving human contact and Collaborate is a great place for socialising and community beyond your computer screen. A well designed workplace can offer so much more than a place to simply park your laptop and plug in. The networking and social opportunities are natural, organic and unforced - unlike most meetings on Zoom and Teams! Do read our recent article explaining How to get the most out of a CoWorking space.

Summary - The 2022 Office

In summary, a shared workspace grants teams the opportunity to be nimble, to flex, to mix and to get social with coworkers. Equally as important, Collaborate offers choice and freedom to directors, business owners and decision-makers. Freedom to be productive and freedom financially. Financial and contractual freedom with perks of flexibility, sociability and productivity is the exciting and positive outlook we’re forecasting for 2022. Ultimately having use of an office, without the hassle or financial implications of owning one, means more productivity on the clock. In 2022, it's time to accept that the office space is evolving and to embrace these positive changes.  This year the ‘office’ will take on a new meaning, bringing more flexibility and working harder for those that need it. Finding offices to rent in Woking could be the answer.