Future of Work 2021: Work from home is here now, but people demand some physical sense at work

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Future of Work 2021: Work from home is here now, but people demand some physical sense at work
Image by Chris Montgomery from Unsplash
  • A survey by Indeed, on people who had to work from home due to the pandemic, showed that 73% miss socialising with their colleagues in person.
  • Companies are now forced to set out satellite offices as people need physical sense in some ways.
  • “Employees are willing to pay up to $300 or more per month for access (to office space), so there's a demand for space, and to be around people, but not full time,” said Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence.
Many of us have spent the majority of 2020 and also the whole of 2021, so far, working remotely. The rapid transition out of the conventional office has met with mixed reactions. Some miss a physical sense of the workplace and some are missing their colleagues. But the reality tells work from home is here to stay for sometime more or may be forever.

At Business Insider's Future of Work event, two brilliant minds -- Nitin Sethi, chief executive officer, human capital solutions, AON, India and South Asia, and Dan Schawbel, managing partner, Workplace Intelligence, who have experienced and studied the global workforce at large provided insights on the changing trends.

One thing that was clear from their conversation was that there is a lot that people are missing out on now, even when compared to the comfort and convenience they have at home.

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A survey by Indeed, an employment website for job listings, on people who had to work from home due to the pandemic, showed that while 78% reported they have since adjusted, half of our respondents still miss their commute, 45% miss in-person meetings and 73% miss socialising with their colleagues in person.

“Jobs are going to people now, more than people are going to jobs, but people want access to an office and in one of the findings, which we thought was fascinating was that if an employer doesn't offer access to an office space. Employees are willing to pay up to $300 or more per month for access, so there's a demand for space, and to be around people, but not full time, "

Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Workplace Intelligence

Working from the office matters more to young graduates who want to work in an office around people. “This is because they want the same community that they had in college”, he added. It is a huge difference in both settings of work. In a corporate setting you can walk down the hallway and talk to your colleagues but while working remotely it's not possible.


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The speakers pointed out that there is an emphasis on companies to have some physical spaces like satellite offices. A satellite office is a branch of a company that's physically separate from the organisation's main office. “So for instance, let's say you're in India and you get a job that was normally based in, you know California in the United States, that company, potentially would give you (allot you a workplace) a satellite office in India that you and your colleagues in the area can go and socialise,” added Dan.

To this, Nitin pointed out that companies are being forced into a point where they need to kind of set up satellite locations as people need physical sense in some ways. “You need to come into spaces to collaborate, to kind of go better suited to be speaking to a lot of that stuff happening,” said Nitin.


So the reality stands that there will be a mixed workplace ecosystem in days and years to come.
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SEE ALSO: Future of Work 2021: Universal pension is a better idea than universal basic income, says India's Chief Economic Advisor

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