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From work-life balance to work-life blend

The work-life blend: how the city and the office are growing together and offering people new working environments.

In recent years, our world of work has changed drastically. The pandemic forced us to work from home and this change has influenced the way we work and live today. The return to the workplace has not only brought with it a resumption of traditional office practices, but also a new era of flexibility and choice.

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Hybrid working models are shaping modern working culture

Employees now spend at least one or two days a week outside the traditional office environment. This change has two significant consequences: It changes the requirements for urban spaces that fulfil traditional office functions and increases the demand for spaces that are not traditionally considered offices.

Companies and employees are realising that the choice of where to work is not limited to the physical location. Rather, it is about choosing where to work, but also how and when to work. This flexibility not only has an impact on work-life balance, but also leads to a new form of work-life integration – a work-life blend.

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Cities in transition: from office districts to diverse working environments

The impact of this development on cities cannot be overlooked. The traditional role of cities as work centres is changing. Urban planners now need to understand which neighbourhoods need to be restructured to meet the needs of an increasingly nomadic working population.

However, the intensity of the impact varies greatly around the world. Office operations in China are almost back to pre-Covid levels, whereas in the USA it is almost unthinkable to work in an office as it used to be. This is leading to a real problem of order in public spaces there. The current situation in Europe is somewhere between the USA and China. Here we are seeing strong growth in coworking spaces in particular.

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The evolution of “third places”

The term “third places” describes places outside the office and home where people can work. Originally, cafés were popular “third places”. However, the possibility of hybrid working has meant that cafés are no longer the only places to go, but that many other public places such as restaurants, parks, airports and hotel lobbies are also becoming increasingly popular. This diversity poses new challenges for the design of workspaces in cities. With reference to the previously used term work-life blend, the café is a wonderful example. Because that’s where we go to work, as well as to enjoy a coffee in our free time.

The future of the office: A response to hybrid working models

In order to maintain the attractiveness of the office as a workplace despite this development, workspaces need to be redesigned. A study by Sedus shows that offices primarily serve as a communal space within a company. The opportunity for collaboration and on-site technological support are decisive factors here.

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The transformation of the workspace includes the creation of communal zones that not only promote efficiency and work, but also enable social interaction and encounters. These changes are crucial in order to compete with other “third places” and support hybrid working models.

The development from work-life balance to work-life blend is an exciting factor to watch. But overall, the future of work will be characterised by flexibility and diversity, and cities and offices will need to adapt accordingly to successfully manage this change.

The products shown in the images above are from the current Sedus collection and can be found in this handy overview.

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