Liquid work - when work is no longer a place
The way we work has gradually evolved overtime and remote work has steadily made its' way into our lives. Since 2009, the number of people who work from home has risen by 159%. The foreseen digital transformation of the workplace was underway, but nothing could prepare us for the accelerated speed of which companies had to adapt to remote work in 2020.
Working from home, or any remote location, has become more accessible for knowledge workers worldwide, providing companies and employees with more flexibility and wider job market pool. Around 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely at least occasionally.
Better work-life balance is the main reason why people choose to work remotely
Remote work has both its' challenges and benefits - the majority of remote workers claim improved work-life balance and overall satisfaction of combining the best of both worlds. Moving forward it will only make sense to take the benefits of what technology allows us and adapt it to the way we do work. In fact, many employees would expect more flexibility from their workplace.
Whilst remote work brought a certain sense of freedom and flexibility, it's also create some new challenges; for example, the importance of 'switching' off after the workday is over, managing mental health and wellbeing, maintaining a sense of belonging and company spirit and leading remote teams, to name a few.
What solutions are being created that will enable flexible work?
Plenty of solutions have been developed to tackle these new challenges and create a better employee experience to workers both at home and in the office. Here are some of the trends we noticed emerging in response to the new ways of working:
Modular furniture solutions for public- and home offices
The Office shell is a self-contained workstation that doubles as an open or private work space, with the sliding of a panel door. This allows workers to create a quiet space for virtual meetings or concentration or open the sliding door and have more collaborative space. This makes it a good solution for both home and public office.
The Office Shell
Shared working spaces
Co-working was on the rise pre-covid, and with safety solutions taken into account, it will continue providing opportunities for flexible working to remote workers and teams. We are seeing the emerging of micro co-working spaces, smaller and closer to people’s homes, to allow a quick change of scenery to those who wish to have a bit of a change.
The Mesta co-working, in Helsink Finland, is a great example. It has small premises and living room-like design. They even state that people there work ‘in their socks’, it sure does sound comfy. The facility is open 24/7 and comes equipped with a small podcast and video room.
Spacehub is a new breed co-working space – even smaller than a micro co-working space, these little meeting pods are designed for ‘pop-in’ meetings, provide privacy for concentration and the ability to have a meeting with screen sharing in a perfectly comfortable and safe environment. The small booths are soundproof and come equipped with smart lighting system, air quality sensors, a screen and free wifi. They can be conveniently booked through a phone app starting at 2.5 euros for 15 minutes.
This provides full flexibility without needing to commit to a full day pass at a traditional co-working space. Currently Space hub booths are located in 14 places throughout Helsinki, including major malls and the airport.
Apart from commercial co-working spaces, we can see how public spaces are being designed with working in mind as well. The central Helsinki library Oodi has an entire second floor dedicated to free-to-book working spaces, including gaming room, sound and video recording studios, graphic tablets, 3D printers and even sewing and embroidery machines.
The Helsinki Library Oodi
At Lyreco Innovation, the future of work is something we spend a great deal of time thinking about. We know that these new modalities of working can create many challenges for our customers which is why we continually explore this Liquid Word trend. Whatever the office of the future looks like, we will continue to explore this topic and seek to understand how we can provide the best solutions for workplaces everywhere.