Orange County Partnership - News

  • Source: Cushman & Wakefield

The New Office Normal Will be a ‘Total Workplace Ecosystem’

Global commercial brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield recently tackled the complex issue of how offices will operate once the coronavirus pandemic is behind us and the challenges businesses will face in the coming months and years.


The firm’s workplace specialists analyzed more than 2.5 million data points from workers across the globe in the pre-COVID-19 era and a further 1.7 million data points from more than 40,000 respondents in the current work-from-home environment to develop a report entitled “The Future of Workplace.”


The 13-page report provides insights into how employees are coping right now, identifies their key successes and critical challenges ahead.


Cushman & Wakefield predicts that 50% of the workforce post COVID-19 will likely be working across a “Total Workforce Ecosystem” that balances office, home and third places.


The report notes that as governments around the world start to ease restrictions on lockdowns, attention is turning to how business can return to work. “However, this viewpoint incorrectly frames the current state of play. Many office-based workers have continued to work through the pandemic and so the focus should actually be on who should go “back to the office?”


While the initial focus has to be on employee wellbeing and vulnerable employees need to remain safe, required social distancing will mean that not all employees can still be accommodated in the available space.


“In conjunction with this, companies recognize that some workers can successfully operate remotely at least part of the time. As a result, companies will have to provide more choices and greater flexibility to work away from the office for the foreseeable future,” the report states.


The report concludes that the companies face a tremendous opportunity going forward to adopt a data-driven, evidence-based approach and develop innovative strategies that support a combination of office-based and remote working to foster success and at the same time manage the challenges they face.


“Quite simply, flexibility and choice to work from anywhere are both accelerating and here to stay, even as COVID-19 restrictions do ease,” the report states. “There are two clear reasons. First, 73% of respondents think companies should embrace flexible working policies. Second, social distancing will mean staggered use of work-from-home / office approaches to keep office occupancy within safe ranges and to keep public transportation less congested.”


Some of the key “learnings” from the report include:


1. Productivity Can Occur Anywhere, Not Just at the Office

  • Pre-COVID-19, remote workers were more engaged and had a better workplace experience than office workers.

  • During the pandemic, effective team collaboration has reached new heights, through better leverage of remote collaborative technology and the ability to focus was upheld.


2. Flexibility and Choice to Work From Anywhere is Accelerating

  • 73% of the workforce believes companies should embrace some level of working from home.

  • Human connection and social bonding are suffering, impacting connection to corporate culture and learning.

  • Younger generations are reporting more challenges working from home.


3. The New Normal Will be a Total Workplace Ecosystem

  • The workplace will no longer be a single location but an ecosystem of a variety of locations and experiences to support convenience, functionality and wellbeing. 

  • The purpose of the office will be to provide inspiring destinations that strengthens cultural connection, learning, bonding with customers and colleagues and supports innovation. 

  • Current footprint sizes will remain steady, balancing social distancing’s relaxing of space density with less office space headcount demand in the new total workplace strategy.

The report was authored by Cushman & Wakefield’s Despina Katsikakis, Head of Occupier Business Performance, London; Bryan Berthold, Global Lead, Workplace Experience, Atlanta; Steven Zatta, Total Workplace, Global Lead Research & Innovation, Washington, D.C. and Dominic Brown, Head of Insight & Analysis, Asia Pacific, Brisbane, Australia.


To access the full Cushman & Wakefield “The Future of Workplace report, go to: