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Rethinking the workplace

Expert tips


There is little room for doubt – working life is not going back to how it was before the pandemic. Our reasons for going into the workplace are no longer the same and office spaces have new needs to meet. For some managers, demanding that staff come into the office can even feel like a tough thing to do.

Remote working has proven to have several benefits and according to the Swedish Work Environment Authority, nine in ten remote workers with desk jobs say they work well from home. So what should we do with our offices? There is much evidence to suggest that a combination of remote and office-based working is the best option, both for our well-being and from a productivity perspective as well.

“That is interesting but not entirely surprising. Having the option to choose between home and the office has been shown to boost motivation. A lot of us now go into the office voluntarily to feel a sense of belonging and like we are part of a wider whole,” says Lena-Karin Allinger, Organisational Consultant at Falck.

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The idea is to find a balance between one’s own interests in working from home vis-à-vis the needs of the group and the organisation.

See you at the office

When do we need to work face-to-face and when can we work from home? Lena-Karin points to the importance of taking cues from the purpose of the work being done.

“Ask the work group, why do we need to work face-to-face? The idea is to find a balance between one’s own interests in working from home vis-à-vis the needs of the group and the organisation. For this to work, it is key that managers stand firm and require physical meetings from time to time,” says Lena-Karin.

Because it is undeniable that certain things happen when staff are in the same room rather than on a screen. Collaboration, development and innovation all occur in meetings with others, when different skill sets come together. We need to meet up for that reason, but also because as human beings, we feel good when we interact socially with others.

“Form, structure and culture will always be crucial factors for our well-being at work and our ability to achieve things together. Try and create an equal dialogue that promotes a genuine interest in what everyone in the room has to add. Form and structure will play an important role in this.”

Social interactions are important when it comes to our mental health and well-being. Good colleagues and a good workplace culture are also factors we value highly when choosing a place to work. Everyone has a responsibility for creating a good culture at work, no matter whether you are a manager or an employee, and this is even more challenging if we never see each other. 

The workplace of the future

There is a lot to suggest that the physical workplace will remain important in the future as well, but that we need to rethink how it is configured to meet the needs of our different roles. Lena-Karin believes that the traditional office landscape, with its rows of desks, will be replaced with another environment.

“We are starting to create spaces that are more like our homes, where we can meet, talk and work together. There are also separate areas for digital meetings and spaces where we can meet in smaller groups. We are increasingly designing our spaces around our needs as human beings; that seems to be a trend.”

Read more tips on how to create a sustainable work environment.