2022 and the Return to the Office — But Is the Office Ready?

Joan Co-founder and Workplace Management Expert Matej Zalar Comments

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As 2022 prepares to unfold and we officially enter a full, post-pandemic year, new workplace dynamics are ready to take place. New requirements will be necessary for offices to function safely and adapt to new challenges, so a restructuring (or perhaps re-purposing) of the office could be on the way, but the question is: how can companies know how to re-shape it? Based on what?

Matej Zalar, co-founder at Joan, offers an answer: technology and insight.

“The pandemic exposed some of the limitations and liabilities of the office, but more importantly, it suggested that productivity is not necessarily linked to a fixed workplace. Today employees can, in most cases, be productive from virtually anywhere, but one aspect that remains essential needs to be reframed: the collaboration with coworkers. Before the pandemic, meeting and conference rooms in the workplace needed management tools for efficiency and to avoid double bookings, today our data tells us that employees already spend less time of the week in the office, but when they do, they use their time for meetings, brainstorming sessions and project development. That means that meeting and conference rooms are proving more necessary than before by being in higher demand than before in a reduced weekly time-frame due to hybrid working. This can easily lead to mismanagement without proper aligning and is only one of the trends that we are seeing. To re-shape the workplace with this in mind, companies need to adopt new strategies. That is what Joan is for”, said Matej Zalar, Co-Founder at Joan.

Data provided by Joan devices showed what the company calls a fairly consistent trend with its customers, especially in Q4 of 2021: the number of meetings decreased drastically on Mondays and Fridays as people were not physically in the office on those days. On the contrary, this also showed that when workers went to the workplace, meeting rooms and huddle spaces were carefully booked and occupied at length.

This showed that when ‘in presence’ work was required, productivity was at its peak. This was the first signal of a shift in the purpose of the office into being a collaborative space and a place where ideas are exchanged rather than a place where people went to achieve focused, individual work.

This trend has many potential ramifications. As a workplace expert, Joan is positive others will develop throughout the year and is keen to provide further insight based on firsthand information from real-life scenarios.