The time for offices is not over – High-performing workplaces highlight the importance of office in the hybrid work era

People co-working in an office

“Employees value being with people as the most important workplace amenity.” This is the headline of Gensler’s recent workplace survey 2023. As the world embraces hybrid work models, the office is evolving into a key component of a broader ecosystem of workspaces. In this new landscape, the office must adapt and work harder to become a preferred destination for employees.

High-performing workplaces offer more choices in workspaces

Employees in high-performing German workplaces reported that their workplace has a significant impact on their performance and well-being. They stated that they feel that they need to come to the office 40% more often than they currently do to maximise their productivity. This means that instead of coming on average 2-2.5 days a week in Germany they should come more often such as 3-3.5 days per week. So in summary, offices are really important as employees think that they should come 1 day extra per week to maximise their productivity.

Employees in higher performing workplaces also report that they ideally need to come to the office 40% more often than they currently do to maximize their productivity, while those in lower-performing workplaces report that they need to come in 7% less often.

Germany Workplace Survey 2023, Gensler Research Institute

One of the key findings in the survey was that the higher-performing, and most innovative workplaces were also the ones that employees reported having the choice between working from home and remotely, in addition, these companies offered versatile workspaces at their office (meaning spaces for group work, focus work, etc,.) In other words, these workplaces recognized the importance of providing a variety of workspaces that cater to different work styles and preferences.

Having a range of workspaces allows employees to choose an environment that best suits their needs for a particular task or project.

By offering a selection of workspaces, high-performing workplaces acknowledge that not all work can or should be done in the same environment. These companies empower their employees to choose the most suitable setting for their specific tasks, thereby enhancing their productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Human connection is the key to a productive workplace

The survey sheds light on the evolving needs and preferences of office workers, emphasizing the significance of interpersonal connections, the value of community, and the impact of workspace choices on productivity and well-being. I believe the key finding of the survey is that the office is not dead after all, but changes to office culture and design need to be made.

Gensler workplace survey reasons to come to the office
For which of the following reasons is it most important to come into the workplace? Source: Germany Workplace Survey 2023, Gensler

Other main themes found in the survey

Human connection still matters in the world of new work, here are the other major themes that rose on the survey:

1. The Power of Interpersonal Connections:

Employees prioritize face-to-face interactions with their teams, scheduled in-person meetings, and access to senior colleagues as the top reasons for going to the office.

Young employees value the sense of community that the office environment provides.

The survey reveals an increased emphasis on socializing at work compared to 2019, underscoring the significance of people-centric activities.

2. The Evolving Role of the Office:

Office workers in Germany now spend only 48% of their workweek in the office, a notable decline from 82% in 2019.

While physical attendance has decreased, employees believe they need to be in the office 14% more than their current frequency to maximize productivity.

Innovative companies spend nearly half of their workweek in the office and recognize the necessity of being present in the office for optimal productivity.

3. Impact on Individual and Business Outcomes:

Employees in higher-performing workplaces report a significantly positive impact on their individual performance, well-being, work/life balance, and job satisfaction.

High-performing workplaces exhibit enhanced teamwork, better services, improved awareness of office updates, a stronger sense of community, faster decision-making, and increased productivity.

Employees in such workplaces express a desire to be in the office more frequently, highlighting the positive correlation between office presence and productivity.

How to make the most of the new normal of work?

Gensler’s Germany Workplace Survey 2023 underscores the changing dynamics of the office and the critical role it plays in the hybrid work era. As stated in the survey, the office needs to work harder to become a destination of choice.

By recognizing the importance of interpersonal connections, fostering a sense of community, providing diverse workspace options, and prioritizing higher-performing workplaces, companies can optimize productivity and overall employee satisfaction. For businesses selling smart office solutions to big companies and real estate professionals, these findings provide valuable insights into the evolving needs of modern workspaces and serve as a guide to meeting the demands of the future of work.

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