Principal, Board Director, Chair of Design and Head of Workplace, BDP
As far as the highs are concerned, we started the year with the opening of PwC’s offices in Birmingham, where they welcomed 2,000 staff to a superb new agile, collaborative and progressive workspace – and, of course, Trump being dumped.
As for the lows – where to start? From a business perspective, dealing with projects delays, cancellations and new levels of uncertainty. From a wider perspective, seeing many friends in the industry and elsewhere lose their jobs. The hardship many people are facing will take some time to repair, even if a vaccine is found soon. The economic and political landscape is very depressing. Hopefully, Biden’s win will be the start of a better world?
We have learnt that we can work effectively from home but company culture and engagement, in-person collaboration to foster innovation, mentorship and learning, and a desire to form real and meaningful connections and friendships with colleagues, is very important. We all crave a place to collaborate, communicate and create, to learn, inspire and develop. The office is not dead – the pandemic has merely accelerated the pace of change and the evolution of the workplace that was already underway.
The trick will be to make the office environment one that we will all want to go to.
The new distributed workplace will need to support people more, offer a more diverse, inclusive and energising, experiential community environment, which brings real choice, really embraces the sustainability agenda and the wellness of the people that work there – they are no longer boxes to tick, they are essentials.
Those organisations that do those things well will thrive, those that don’t won’t.