Will COVID take over the existence of the normal office? Nothing is less certain … So in this new year 2021, what motivates users to go to the office? What attire should workspaces present to ensure well-being? Going to the Office Today: A Survey to Understand User Expectations.
article published in “Ergonoma Journal 62” January / February / March 2021
To find out more, BureauxLocaux, with support from Multiburo, conducted a study. A survey of 350 business leaders actively looking for office space. They also interviewed three leading experts. They discovered new desires of employees. As well as the new prerequisites linked – in particular – to the essential development of massive remote working.
However, they are now convinced that the office still has many years to come … The white paper you can download gives you the keys to understanding the main characteristics of the ideal desktop.
Welcoming and unifying
For Sophie Desmazières, President of BureauxLocaux decoration and design are important. But the needs of employees boil down to good equipment and irreproachable working conditions.
“Ergonomic and functional equipment with a comfortable seat to avoid back pain. A high-performance wifi connection.
Light and a limitation of noise pollution. Noise exhausts employees. It mobilizes considerable energy and affects the ability to concentrate needed to work well.
Interactions, the human relations constitute the first motivation to come to the office. Business is a team project and the office is the place that makes quality interactions possible. “
“Socialize, co-construct, innovate: we do not go through screens interposed”, recalls the President. “It is also the place that crystallizes the sense of belonging and the values of companies.“
“Societal changes and digital tools help to reduce the border between private and professional life. The office must therefore support this transformation. Neighborhood life and the diversity of shops. Local services or even the implementation of responsible commitments at work.
All are now part of the criteria for collaborators to qualify their ideal office. “
From your perspective, what are the essential elements of the workspace. What can be done to make users want to come to the office and make them feel good there?
Alain d´Iribarne, economist and work sociologist, considers that the question that arises today is the relative attractiveness of each workplace. Whether it is in terms of economic, social and environmental efficiency. The new working methods and the well-being of employees will be expressed in a balance between the different workplaces.
Chairman of the scientific board of Actineo launched in 2005, the Observatory for the quality of office life, he encourages managers to use the workspace as a performance lever. But also as a source of well-being for their employees. Because the layout of office spaces is one of the essential components of the quality of life in the office.
The sociologist added: “One thing is certain, spaces will multiply beyond the office building. There will be places to work alone and in peace, such as the home or the third place. places to work with others remotely or face-to-face.
Or even places where the social beings that we are, can assert themselves, to meet each other. To share and come together around the company’s employer brand. “
The place conditions you
Working from home isn’t ideal for remote workers, says the founder of My Mental Energy Pro.. Company whose vocation is to support employees in reconciling mental well-being and cognitive efficiency at work. “At home, the employee does not always have the right conditions to work well,” laments Jean-Christophe Beau.
“As much as a place conditions you. So it can be difficult to set up work-from-home rituals.”
He continues: “To make people want to come to the office, the ideal is to co-construct with the collaborators. While ensuring a good distribution between the different functions. Whether they are of concentration, regeneration, telephony, formal interactions. and informal, and considering the use of third places.
I think they should be included from the start, especially in large cities. Travel between home and work can contribute to fatigue and nervousness. You have to think of the ideal office in a bigger way. “
A breakdown between the different functions.
What do you think the ideal office looks like today? Concretely, what are its characteristics?
Olivier Saguez, founder and designer of Saguez et Partners explains: “The ideal office is first and foremost space, natural light. Unobstructed views, the sun itself, quality acoustics, fresh air and air quality especially in meeting rooms.
It is also “contactless” for doors, soft connections by trays, even vertical connections with stairs.
And for the well-being, natural materials, soft colors… “In short, soft ergonomics” for a cocooning effect “ says the one whose agency has built its new Manufacture Design in the new eco-district of Grand Paris, the Docks of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine where its 150 employees think and make the design of tomorrow.
Founded in 1998, its internationally renowned brand design agency, presents itself as Half-campus, half-laboratory, half-workshop, half-school, half-coworking, half-café, half-bivouac … The agency works , reflects, observes and imagines the new forms of living in the city: new neighborhoods, new mobility, new behaviors, new consumption, new uses and new attitudes in sustainable development.
On this basis … he continues: “… there must be more places than the number of people. Places that correspond to different working postures. So that employees move, meet. clearly identified spaces for different functions. For concentrating, making phone calls, exchanging via videoconference. Spaces for making quick points, leading coaching sessions, meetings, conferences…. “
And the designer concludes: “Last point, you need services adapted to the employee’s activity. Click and collect, quality local catering, a gym. A nap area, IT staff troubleshooting services … This is all the ideal office! “
Respect for the fundamentals
Alain d’Iribarne: “To be ideal, the office must first meet the fundamentals of” working well “, observes the chairman of the scientific board of Actineo. It must be a place letting in natural light. Offering thermal comfort, calm, ergonomic comfort and, of course, common places. For meetings, but also more informal discussion spaces. Places where you can come to work in peace, alone or with a colleague, while having a coffee. workers say they no longer need to come to the office every day. “
Jean-Christophe Beau: “The ideal office today must meet at least three functions: concentration, regeneration and social support. These needs at work that the context of the pandemic linked to Covid forces us to no longer avoid. Concentration is a filter Because human being cannot close his ears as he can close his eyes It is a question of survival of the species!
The more noise there is next to the worker, the more energy he has to provide to keep it out. Whether they come from conversations, whispers and other sounds emitted by printers or applications, for example. A mobilized energy which, by force, exhausts and can harm the control of emotions. The body cannot generate enough oxygen and sugar to sustain high concentration over time. We must therefore also imagine micro-break spaces. Places of regeneration, of reverie: a garden, a beautiful unobstructed view, a room decorated with works of art …
There must be spaces for chatting. “To tell ”, but also to meet and create. Like small rooms where you can move, draw, materialize what you have in mind. Because movement is symmetrical to reflection” he explains.
Hyper-friendliness vs calm
Our study characterizes the ideal office as a social place. A working tool that must be well equipped, calm, flexible, comfortable … The design and the hyper-friendliness touted in recent years seem of less importance. What do you think ?
Alain d’Iribarne: “It seems quite logical. We are not going to sacrifice the fundamentals for the benefit of table football. We must first meet the basic needs perfectly before considering going beyond. The workers you interviewed are not mistaken. not: they know the priorities “
Jean-Christophe Beau: “It’s important, but when people don’t have the rest … it is useless! We must first meet the primary need. And this primary need is to work well. In order to be able to work well, like Your investigation underlines it very well, you need a good connection. A good chair, light, suitable spaces so as not to get excited, to recharge your batteries. “
For the one who received the Silver Prize at the QVT Trophies and the Préventica Innovation Prize for its application, with more than 200 audio and video contents, to reduce mental and emotional overload, fatigue, and gain concentration:
“These are the fundamentals of the quality of life at work. Then, of course, the design, the decor is added to this framework. But they cannot be favored at the expense of basic needs.”
Olivier Saguez,: “It depends on your definition of the word” design “. For me, design is not an adjective but a working method, a method that starts from uses. I believe in a design that is useful, simple, ergonomics, readable, practical, and this design is acclaimed. I do not believe in “like at home”, where everything is tinkered. Often uncomfortable: everything must be professional, and incomparably better than House.”
He carries on “The development represents a ridiculous part of expenditure compared to the wage bill. It should not be seen as a cost! But as an investment. An investment which can pay a lot if it is conceived with seriousness. When the we are going to work, it is mainly to meet the others, to work with the others. “
“The physical relationship without interposed screens is much stronger, as many studies attest. People engage much more easily and especially add up together.”
“Today, work is collective, organizations are no longer vertical but horizontal, and the place creates the link, the relationship. And also there are places that inspire ideas, reflection, as they attract talent … We need to get out of everyday life, of its banality in order to surpass oneself. And a place can be a source of strong inspiration. “
In three figures
When asked, “Today, why is it useful to come to the office?”
71% To see colleagues and talk to them
66% To move projects forward and communicate with the team
39% To stay motivated and get to know the company well