The Covid shift and our workplaces

More than ever, organisations need workplaces that build culture, enable innovation and encourage the best talent according to Letitia Hope, ISPT’s Workplace Partnership Manager.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the office forever. Nearly a third of Australian businesses currently have employees working from home. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, businesses list greater flexibility, improved work life balance and less travel time as the biggest benefits.

At the recent ISPT INSIGHTS, a symposium to unpack the opportunities and uncover the hidden challenges ahead keynote speaker and economist Saul Eslake nominated the potential loss of productivity from home distractions, the erosion of team dynamics, and fewer collaboration and innovation opportunities as the biggest challenges.

Creating a hybrid workplace that supports people, productivity and purpose requires thoughtful consideration from government and business leaders, landlords and communities. Together, it’s time to rethink the way we use space.

Cox Architecture’s Director Karen Clutson noted “An office is an essential physical representation of any organisation’s culture. Creating a cohesive organisational culture is a big challenge when everyone is working remotely.” 85% of Cox clients have said replicating this culture is difficult away from the office.”

There’s another hidden challenge for the hybrid model, ISPT’s Alicia Maynard, General Manager, Sustainability & Technical Services pointed out. An energy efficient office produces fewer carbon emissions, enhances thermal comfort and boosts productivity. Over the past year, many Australians have worked from homes with far lower sustainability standards.

After 12 months focus on mission-critical activity, businesses are pivoting to more strategic activity that drives innovation, growth and regeneration, Letitia Hope observed. Alicia Maynard shared, “How do we ensure people are working from comfortable, productive, inclusive and low-carbon spaces, regardless of the location? The best landlords are already thinking about this challenge.”