There has been a lot of talk in recent months about how we're going to work after the pandemic. Will we go back to the office 5-days a week? Will we work remotely from a beach in Bora Bora? Are we going to exist solely in the Metaverse or will still need interaction in real life?
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. While some people are cut out for full-time remote work, others are not and they crave meeting people face-to-face on a regular basis. That's why "hybrid" has been such a trending topic of conversation and is lauded as the model that's going to shape the future of work. Bringing together the best of both worlds, hybrid work enables colleagues to meet in person when they need to and enjoy the comforts of a home office.
But that begs the question—what of the traditional office space? What's going to happen to office buildings, for example? Do companies really need an office or will giving employees the flexibility to meet wherever suffice?
Not only that, but companies themselves have also been struggling to make this decision for a number of reasons. They need to think about what working model suits their company culture most. What arrangement will their employees be happiest with? What makes the most sense and aligns best with their values, mission, and vision?
That being said, a traditional office space full of cubicles and a water cooler probably isn't the best representation of the future of the office. But, in order to envision what the office is going to look like, it's first important to understand why it's still such a necessity.
We're not talking about the kind of interaction you'd expect during a structured brainstorming meeting or strategy session. Sure, those types of meetings certainly are better in person (as you'll discover in reason number 2), but there is a case to be made that videoconferencing tools can be a substitute where needed.
What offices offer that a virtual workplace can't are these moments of spontaneity among colleagues. They can keep talking about a project informally over a coffee after a meeting, run into coworkers they don't work with on a day-to-day basis, meet newbies, and get inspired by all of the brilliant minds around them.
Whether that's in a coworking space or in a stable office, certain types of meetings are just better in person. Things like project kickoffs, multiplayer brainstorm sessions, strategic briefs and debriefs, and personal development conversations are just a few examples that come to mind.
In fact, face-to-face meetings with colleagues and clients are what professionals miss the most about business travel!
39% of respondents to a TravelPerk surveyclaimed that being able to meet in person is what they're most excited about when it comes to getting back on the road. A further
26% claimedthat what they're most excited about in returning to the office is the ability to attend workshops and teambuilding activities in real life.
It doesn't matter whether you're a tech company, a banking giant, or a family-owned business—company culture is a real thing. And it's a pretty important component not only in employee retention but also in attracting talent. Nearly 90% of job seekers claim that identifying a healthy culture in the workplace is an important factor for them in deciding what company to work for.
And what better place to really feel and live the company culture than in a physical workspace where people from across the business gather? At TravelPerk, one of the key artifacts of our company culture is our
weekly all-hands meeting. And, you guessed it, it happens in real life in our offices every week. We live-stream what's going on in our Barcelona hub to our international offices, have newbies introduce themselves to everyone, and even set up shout-outs among colleagues to celebrate successes.
... And let's be honest. In a COVID and post-COVID world, any opportunity to get together with people safely is welcome.
73% of workersclaim that they miss going to the office for the social component—like spontaneous side conversations that are impossible to replicate on Zoom, or casual unplanned after-work drinks with colleagues.
But this isn't just about people wanting to hang out with their colleagues. There's a deeper dimension to this centered around the fact that team s
ocializing actually builds a stronger sense of belonging. This is one of the strongest drivers in employee motivation, a feeling of being part of something greater. Think about it—why would workers call themselves Google-rs or Amazon-ians?
To be clear, that's not to say that remote workers can't achieve this sense of belonging. But as a social species that thrives on interaction, that's much easier and more satisfying to achieve in person. And let's face it. In the new normal, we're going to want more social interaction, not less.