The Future of Work; creating the Post Pandemic Workplace Experience

  • 2021

  • Design Research

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Designed In:


For more than 40 years the Directors of Futurespace have been researching a holistic future of work, as it relates to people’s experience of working in office spaces. The global pandemic of 2020 challenged all previous notions of work, and the research undertaken by Futurespace heralds a new workplace zeitgeist.

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Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
Image: Futurespace
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  • Early in 2020, as businesses around the globe sent almost entire workforces home to work, the role of the centralised office was not only undermined, it's purpose was questioned entirely. If people could work from home successfully, what then was the role of the densely populated, centralised commercial office tower? At Futurespace our core business is workplace design, therefore this question was particularly pertinent. In April 2020 we began researching without prejudice, both academically and through practice, what role 'the office' might play in people's future. Our goal was to determine a relevant, sustainable and innovative 'future of work'.

  • Our research confirmed that 'the office' has a critical role in the Future of Work. It enabled us to develop a new workplace typology - the Blended/Hybrid workplace. This incorporates new modalities of working (from Home and Office) and positions the future of work as a bespoke experience, keenly influenced by an organisation's culture and technology platforms. This knowledge was then applied to a number of diverse workplace design briefs to help specific clients determine future workplace needs (via the lens of property, culture, technology, wellness and environment/place strategies) resulting in new client-specific, post pandemic workplace experiences.

  • We found that whilst Working from Home (WFH) was mostly successful, an individual's unique situation often determined this success (or not). Social impacts from our research included leveraging the gains of WFH in terms of work/life balance, time saved on commuting, more time with family. Strategies for addressing challenges included developing bespoke hybrid working scenarios aligned with a particular culture and leadership ethos. Commercial impacts included more efficient use of office towers and resultant environmental/sustainability gains. Overall Impact was a brand-new workplace typology - the Blended/Hybrid Workplace that organisations can pursue, develop and adopt in a way that suits them best.

  • We found that on average, 80% of people prefer WFH 2-3 days a week, 10% of people prefer WFH 5 days a week and 10% of people prefer no WFH. WFH is here to stay as part of the Workplace Experience. The Office has a critical role in the post pandemic experience of work. The Future of Work is a bespoke Hybrid/Blended model combining different environments - office, home, third spaces - with individual circumstances and company culture. Therefore, COVID-19 has created a new zeitgeist for peoples' workplace experience. The Future Workplace Experience is made up of three interwoven and interconnected tenets - Environment, Culture and Technology/Digital Experience. Evolution will continue - people will need higher performing spaces to suit diverse needs. Culture, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigenous recognition will also define the experience. Hybrid/Blended experience must be equitable, with workplaces being more compelling than ever before. There is a stronger emphasis on people coming to the office to Collaborate and Socialise with their colleagues, whilst still supporting Focused work. There is a significant opportunity to leverage the gains of 2020 and redefine the Workplace Experience. The future of workplace design is now about designing for opportunities, rather than a single, static solution.