A handful of years ago, Johnson Controls put out its “Smart Workplace 2040” report that detailed how we’d work in 25 years. Choice and flexibility would shape the workplace of the future, researchers said, and 9-to-5 would be a thing of the past. They depicted a scenario of connected homes, remote working and driverless cars that sounded pretty cool, but definitely future-focused.
Then, as they say, “2020 Happened.” Suddenly, remote working was not only here, but for many, required – ready or not. Companies across the globe found that productivity remained high, and workers realized they didn’t want to give up their newfound flexibility.
A number of high-profile companies like Twitter and Facebook were quick to adopt a permanent remote work policy this spring because of COVID-19, yet that setup isn’t for everyone. More than half of company leaders in a survey by commercial real estate services firm CBRE said they prefer a hybrid arrangement that combines working from the office and remotely.
As COVID-19 continues to affect daily work routines, the Branigan team by and large values the remote work arrangement for flexibility and safety, but Zoom calls just can’t replace the in-person experience.
That lines up with both past and present research. Johnson Controls’ Smart Workplace 2040 says the office of the future would be modified to “support impromptu collaboration, creative ideation and social connections that are best served in person.” And in the CBRE survey, 60% of workers said a return to the office would be for “community and collaboration.”
So, we’re finding ways to keep the creativity and collaboration alive as the workplace of the future evolves, realizing in real time the implications of the Smart Workplace prediction that “work is something we do, not a place to go.”