Page 4AA - February 17-March 2, 2021 Construction, Design & Engineering Success is in the Details 303-573-5678 Pete Gillespie, President Bill Brauer, General Manager Office | Medical | Specialty EJCM COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT M any U.S. workers contin- ue to work from home due to the ongoing pandemic and, concurrently, organizations are exploring alternative work modes to suit their workforce. The hybrid work model – in which employees work partially in the office and part remotely – has become the topic of conversa- tion as we imagine the future of the workplace. Our Gensler Research Institute surveyed more than 2,300 U.S. workers across industries, roles and age groups back in summer 2020 to understand the needs and wants of today’s workforce in light of COVID-19. The resulting Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey reveals that many workers expect that the future of work and the physical office must evolve. The following are four key strategies that address the future of work, support new modes of working, and allow organizations to be resilient to future disruptions in the workplace. n Embrace a hybrid mode of working. Our recent Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey shows that 90% of employees across the nation valued their work-from- home experience for its ability to support focus work, eliminate commuting, improve work-life balance and empower workers to manage their day autonomously. Our studies also found that those already in a hybrid model appear more in control of their time, versus those working full time at home and full time in the office, with respon- dents reporting positive benefits to creativity (42%), productiv- ity (39%) and team relationships (50%). It’s no surprise that our research shows more than half of U.S. workers prefer a hybrid work scenario. In the new hybrid office, there will be a need for more dynamic adaptable, recon- figurable space; more varied types of virtual collaboration spaces; more socially distanced spaces; and potentially lower density in headcount to address health concerns. To support this, organizations will need to adopt space reservation programs to manage space utilization, indi- vidual and team schedules, and safety considerations. n Rethink workplace ameni- ties that bring purpose. Before the pandemic took place, employ- ers across industrieswere offering amenities such as fitness centers, multiple breakout rooms and other in-office perks to attract and retain top talent. While our pre- vious research has shown these are the most desired amenities by employees, these wants and needs have shifted as a result of COVID-19. In our same survey, U.S. workers are putting assigned seating at the top of their list – and despite a desire for flexibil- ity, two-thirds are not willing to trade flexibility for assigned seat- ing.While employees give impor- tance to collaborative work, they also want a sense of safety and proper social distancingmeasures implemented – with 90% giving preference to an assigned work desk. Striking the right balance of open-private and individual- group spaces will be key in the future. Food and beverage spaces also are being reconsidered as ser- viced touch points in the office, along with hoteling spaces for client collaboration. The return on investment for these amenities is huge as it also allows compa- nies to devote valuable real estate space. n Integrate technology to drive in-person and virtual connection. While Zoom happy hours and virtual team build- ing exercises won’t be the same as in-person connections and impromptu face-to-face time, the futureworkplacemust be built on an ecosystem that brings people, place and technology together. The most successful workplac- es will be able to support new ways of working and explore vir- tual integration into the physi- cal space. Meetings and meeting spaces will need a refresh – from leveraging augmented real- ity and virtual reality technology to utilizing the many forms of automation tools and collabora- tion software to keep workers engaged. Virtual integration can give employees a more seamless work experience and connection to the people and values of their organization. n Place employee health and well-being at the forefront. The global health crisis has put a renewed focus on health and well-being in the workplace. Employers now face urgency to synergize indoor and outdoor spaces, nudge healthy behaviors, and support a sense of mental well-being. Colorado is known for its breathtaking outdoor spac- es. With 300 days of sun, outdoor amenities for meetings or focus work, for gardens or yoga, can be utilized almost year-round and provide a connection to nature, which is said to increase our feel- ings of wellness. Employers also can implement programs that focus on well- being such as meditation classes, mental health counseling, and pop-up clinics to enrich the work- place experience. s The hybrid future of work: Strategies to rethink the office Michelle Liebling Principal and managing director, Gensler David Lauer Photography EFEducation First Workplace