The Office of the Future must be an inspiring physical space that facilitates communication, cooperation and collaboration in order to encourage employees to come into the office, according to the latest case study by The Executive Centre (TEC), the leading premium flexible workspace, and Standard Chartered Bank.
Modern technology and globalised communication systems have allowed us to become a more agile and mobile workforce, and these trends have accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The workforce culture today is increasingly championing flexible working practices as the Future of Work. Standard Chartered Bank is leading the shift for multinational corporates towards adopting a flexible work culture through an extensive review and analysis of their portfolio and employee needs.
Sheridan Perkins, Property Program Director of Future Workplace, now at Standard Chartered Bank said, “Initially, we assumed maybe 50% of our employees wanted Flex, but actually from our survey, we found that over 75% wanted it. Typically, this was 2-3 days at home and 2-3 days at the office or third space. Despite some regional nuances, this finding was reasonably consistent across all regions.”
The case study reviews the learnings from Standard Chartered Bank’s exercise and provides a roadmap for other organisations that realise the value of flexibility but find it challenging to create an architecture to empower change.
One of the key learnings is that for companies to successfully transition towards flexible working practices, they need to understand their business requirements and priorities first, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. They must also interview and collaborate with their employees extensively, conduct research to make informed decisions, seek external consultations from multiple industry partners, and understand where their operations need to be geographically and how the occupants will use that space.
While the company approach must be tailored, there were three factors that all companies should consider in their workplace strategy: Physical, Digital and Social.
— Physical transformation:
As people will be coming into the workplace to perform activities that they cannot do at home, office design will become one that facilitates communication, cooperation and collaboration.
— Digital transformation:
With an increasing demand to work flexibly and remotely, technology and digitalisation of workflows will play a pivotal role in enabling day to day productivity.
— Social transformation:
As the office will become a place where employees choose to work from, greater incentives will be needed to attract people into the office.
For its Greater Bay Area location, Standard Chartered Bank realised it required private office spaces and
meeting rooms in a CBD location which would allow for multiple business units to operate, and flexibility to scale up or down as their business needs changed. The Executive Centre’s flexible workspace solution gave them the ability to mitigate their risks and reduce costs while remaining in the heart of Guangzhou’s central business district.
“As a solution, flexible workspaces provide ready to use, fully furnished and serviced workspaces for the headcount that’s needed at hand. This ability to scale up or down or move locations at relatively short notice is a highly intelligent way for companies to address their workspace requirements,” said Paul Salnikow, Founder & CEO of The Executive Centre.
Shelley Boland, Head of Property Asia Pacific, Standard Chartered Bank added, “The talent of the future are expecting flex; whether that’s flexible work hours or locations. Successful adopters of flex will be those that have the foresight to model and visualise how workplace changes may affect business outcomes, operations and employees, and be agile enough to constantly evolve their workspace to those needs. We see flexible office spaces playing a greater role in that strategy.”