Article by Michael Bouwens
CEO & Founder bij bouwens&
Due to the corona virus the reality is that employees no longer have to go to the office to work there, but can actually go to the office when it suits them. It is no longer a duty, but a privilege. This changes the role of the office: from a functional working environment to an inspiring meeting place. Such an office is actually the 'clubhouse' of a company.
Most employers were not in favor of working from home in the pre-corona era. They always believed that employees would not be able to concentrate on their work and were more difficult to reach for questions and consultation. Or, that they would mainly be doing the household, taking the children from and to school, walk the dog or take the car to the garage. Employers have changed their views radically in recent months.
Now, working from home has suddenly become the only way to continue business operations and employers are forced to embrace the concept. Due to the corona virus, many employers have switched to digital solutions that enable employees to work from home. Businesses find that their people do as much - or even more - work at home and achieve results as they do at their workplace in the office. Due to the pandemic, working from home has really taken off. Never before have so many people worked from home. They only come to the office when there is no other option, such as for work that cannot be done from home or in cases where the situation at home makes it difficult to get actual work done.
“To give the office the appeal that makes people want to meet whenever it suits them, not only an investment in a new layout of work floors is necessary, but also an impulse for hospitality and services.”
The corona virus has quite a few consequences for the traditional function of the office. Before the corona era, working from home was often a taboo subject. Currently, working from home is the only solution. When this is all over, working from home is expected to gradually decline and the number of people present at the office will increase again. However, the office as the center of the work process is really a thing of the past. A new balance is being created.
More importantly however, is the reality that employees no longer have to go to the office to work there, but can actually go to the office when it suits them. It is no longer a duty, but a privilege. This changes the role of the office: from a functional working environment to an inspiring meeting place. A place where people connect, collaborate, brainstorm and build relationships. Such an office is actually the "clubhouse" of a company with employees or "members" who like to visit frequently, feel at home and are connected by their employer or "club".
In the weeks and months to come, more companies will see an opportunity to divest square meters of office space and thus save on rental costs, due to the reduced demand for permanent workplaces. On the other hand, an investment will be necessary in most cases to give the office the appeal that makes people want to meet whenever it suits them. This not only means a new layout of work floors with more spaces for flexible workplaces, consultation and relaxation, but also an impulse for hospitality and services.
“After every visit at the clubhouse, people walk out with a smile.”
In the club house of a company - with new opening hours from early in the morning until late at night and preferably also in the weekend - hospitality is top-notch. A host or hostess will be waiting for you when you enter, walk up to you, and welcome you with a smile. Then this professional escorts you to your appointment. During the entire stay in the office, employees and customers feel that they have a personal assistant. The host or hostess tailors the service to personal wishes and needs. A fresh cappuccino, connecting the beamer, arranging catering, ordering taxis: everything is taken care of. After every visit, people walk out with a smile.
The ‘office new style’ will be a professional club house that offers a unique experience. It’s the only way to keep employees interested in spending time there, participate in (informal) meetings and stay in touch with their colleagues. For now - in a labor market in which employers are in the driver’s seat - hospitality and services in the office will mostly be driven by the ambition to please customers. After all, customers have increasingly high expectations in terms of service. Excellent service traditionally contributes to successful agreements and long-term customer relationships. Fortunately, nothing has changed in that regard.