The Future of Work
As a father to three wonderful children, I’ve long been an advocate for agile and remote working. In the ‘old world’ pre-pandemic, I often worked from home, or from a café, or took calls on a mid-afternoon walk. I knew that I didn’t need to be visible to be effective – as did my bosses at AECOM – but that didn’t mean my office was obsolete. It was an important place for connecting and collaborating with clients, colleagues, construction partners and fellow consultants – and the last few months have shown just how valuable those in-person interactions are.
Changes that we’ve been predicting and advocating for some years – such as the rise of remote working and collaborative technology, and the role of the office as a hub that nurtures company culture and values – are accelerating. Our experience of 100% home-working has proven our philosophy about what the office is for and aligns directly with the evolution to more collaborative hubs, which encourage social interactions through allocating more floor space to communal areas with sofas, chairs and agile workstations.
Of course, there are immediate challenges for employers looking to reopen their offices safely, which we explore in our Return to Occupancy guide. In the medium-term, many employers will choose to introduce new technologies that will make it easier to ensure the health of their workers, such as antimicrobial and self-cleaning materials, and low-touch interfaces in lifts and coffee stations.
But in the long term, employers need to re-imagine their workplaces completely, putting wellbeing at the heart of their design, and making those spaces a physical manifestation of the company values, to help attract fresh talent and new business.
Peter Flint is Chief Growth Officer, EMEA, at AECOM