It was apparent after the first few months of the pandemic that ‘normal’ was missing in action.
There had been too much change at every level to waste time waiting on a return to ‘normal’. As a business, it was critical for us to avoid getting caught in the spectator position of standing still and watching on in disbelief. Instead, we recognized that we had to get on with the task of navigating the changes.
The Acuitas culture is the synthesis of nearly two decades of a flat, people centric multi-disciplined consultancy. When we looked at that critically and how we produce our work, it made challenging and abandoning some of the inherently costly assumptions about “the office”, how we use it, what we need of it and how we think of it (including outmoded notions of spatial hierarchy), very easy. As a meteor had made quick work of the dinosaurs, the pandemic has killed the old model of the office. Welcome the ‘workspace’
When you start with the question of “what needs to be done physically and what can be done virtually?”, we believe that the days of going into the office for the sake of going in are over. With most of the team’s time spent working from home, the office has become essentially a special purpose space. It can either be a ‘quiet focus space’ or act as the new ‘huddle room’ where teams can collaborate and brainstorm, all while being the repository of hard copy documents that are essential to the business. A consequential benefit of this is in the intention of the team member making the decision to go to the workspace. It’s no longer the force of habit that drives you to the office because that is what work demands, rather it is driven by an understanding of the needs of the task at hand “I am going to the office to get x y or z done”, having established that these tasks cannot be done otherwise. Being in the workspace is deliberate, it is not random nor habitual but rather focused on being task-specific and productive.
In our workspace, no one has a dedicated office, there is no longer a premium (real or imagined) attached to one location or another. There is simply open work area, connectivity, communication and collaboration. Without walls in the way, there is a free flow of information, knowledge sharing and performance transparency, all within a much smaller footprint.
For us, the workplace of the future is ‘people-centred’ and ‘productivity-focused. Essentially, it means doing more with less.