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Urbanised working environments – what does that mean?

Different approaches to hybrid work

At a time when workplaces are becoming increasingly urbanised and flexible, there is a clear trend towards hybrid work. Sedus INSIGHTS explores the question of how the workplaces of tomorrow must be designed to meet the requirements of a hybrid model.

According to a study conducted by JLL in 2022, 60% of employees prefer hybrid working models to working exclusively in the office or from home. This preference is turning traditional working structures on their head and challenging companies to develop new strategies.

The need for a good reason

A decisive factor in the design of urbanised working environments is employee motivation. A study by Microsoft Worklab in 2022 found that 73% of employees need a good reason to go to the office, apart from the mere expectation of the company. This trend is forcing companies to make offices more attractive and functional places that offer more than just workstations.

Flexibility as a key strategy

The pandemic has accelerated the use of flexible space. 41% of tenants are increasingly relying on flexible space as part of their workplace strategy post-pandemic, according to JLL in 2021. This flexibility allows employees to choose different work locations depending on their needs and the nature of the task, be it the office, home office or a ‘third place’.

The rise of the “third place”

As we can work virtually anywhere, the reason to go to the office must go beyond just work. Offices, in constant competition with new places to work, are changing, as is the way cities are seen and experienced. Business districts must now take into account that employees spend a significant portion of their workdays outside of office buildings, affecting the demand for traditional office space and the use of urban facilities.

In urban areas, numerous alternative work opportunities are emerging beyond the home and office. Third places are flourishing and offer a variety of models and forms that go beyond cafés and co-working spaces. A study by JLL emphasises that hybrid work today means more than just home and office; a variety of different locations are now part of the typical working week, as employees are redefining the boundaries between private and professional life and these are often blurred. Experts refer to this as the work-life blend.

Hotels and restaurants as workspaces

More and more hotels and restaurants are transforming into informal workspaces that are more discreet than an office, but just as well equipped and as welcoming as a home, but without the distractions. One example of this is “Working from_The Hoxton”, which opened in Brussels in July 2023. It is a hybrid of hotel and co-working space with almost 200 rooms and 500 different workstations.

A new work culture

The diversity of third places in cities marks a noticeable change in workplace culture. The traditional distinction between office workers and digital nomads is becoming increasingly blurred. Employees are choosing different ways of working depending on the specific requirements of the task or the need to collaborate. These changes are leading many companies and space planners to experiment with new formats and functions to transform traditional office buildings into “the best places to work”.

A paradigm shift in space and time

The introduction of a hybrid working model means not only being able to choose where to work, but also when to work during the day. This flexibility and freedom challenges the traditional workplace culture and creates new opportunities for a better work-life balance.

 

In summary, urbanised work environments offer a wide range of flexible, hybrid work opportunities. This development challenges traditional ways of working and leads to a redefinition of what an office is and should be. This opens up exciting prospects for the future of work and the design of our cities.

You can find out more in the latest Sedus INSIGHTS.

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