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Meta5 Group discusses the future of the workplace

Workplace strategy consultancy, Meta5 Group, predicts smaller office spaces and flexibility within the workplace post Covid-19.

Flexibility within the workplace has been a hot topic of conversation over the last month, particularly with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern encouraging businesses to discuss a four day work week. If the future consists of activity-based-working combined with work from home policies, real estate requirements can be reduced by 30 to 50 percent.

Workplace strategy director of Meta5 Group New Zealand, Christian Pistauer, says economic pressure combined with demand for flexibility and digitisation will push the workplace into a different direction.

“Businesses will be reducin their physical footprint and look to invest in technology solutions to build and maintain culture and enable felxible working practices.

“As many have come to realise, the office does provide a valuable space for collaboration as well as intangibles such as socialising and bond-building. The office will become a hub, a place that employees choose to go to fulfill a certain type of work.”

Mega5 believe an average office of 1,200sqm rentable office space with around 100 employees will be reduced to 600-700sqm in coming years to save on significant costs. Pistauer says while Covid-19 has caused a lot of stress and difficult decisions, not all the mid to long term changes are negative.

“For most businesses, the coming year will not be a process of simply returning to how things were, but will involve selecting the positive aspects of what has been learned in the enforced shift to flexible working.”

In today’s world, it has been proven that employees can work in more than one place in order to carry out their role. Looking forward, it will be important for employers to implement modern work from home policies and activity-based-working in their new models of working.

Pistauer says there will be a rise in flexibility in the workplace, which will be smarter and better managed than what we are used to. He discusses four layers of flexibility, including flexibility in place, flexibility in the role, flexibility in time, and flexibility in leave.

“Job sharing, part time, working and employing contractors are likely to become more common in the coming years. A good flexible working policy will also make provisions for allowing more unpaid leave to be taken, and will be more lenient with regards holiday transfer and time in lieu.

To assist a flexible workplace, there will be a significant push for businesses to move from paper-based storage to iCloud facilities. Pistauer explains video conference rooms and personalised equipment will become a necessity which will be an area of increased spending however an investment in the long run.

“We have been measuring the success of workplace transformations since 2012. In our experience there is a significant difference in how successfully organisations adapt to the transition to a more modern way of working.”

“Some take to it instantly, increasing productivity and reducing costs, all the while reporting increased employee satisfaction. Others struggle with the change, and experience the opposite results.”

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