Post-COVID Workplace

Do We Still Love The Office?

Iñaki Lozano Ehlers’ Vision On The Future of Work

bio-inaki-ehlers

Everyone wants to know what the future holds and what the office will look like post-pandemic. 360 spoke to several global leaders about the future of the office. Iñaki Lozano Ehlers, managing director of BICG, sees a shift unfolding to a more social, environmental, and economically sustainable business ecosystem. When it comes to the question, why do we go to the office, his answer is clear: We go to the office for two reasons – because we perform some activities better there and because of the experience it creates.

Many who were part of the massive global work-from-home experiment missed the intrinsic human experience of working together in physical spaces specifically designed to foster creativity, agility and innovation. Ehlers shared that after nearly three decades of watching the workplace evolve, there are key reasons why people should still go the office.

 

Work = What to Do + When + Where

360º: How has COVID changed your perspective on the future of your business and the industry?

Iñaki Lozano Ehlers:

For 25 years, we have been monitoring the evolution of the workplace and how we work in terms of time, place, and structure; the pandemic is “just” one more step in a journey. The acceleration has been a game-changer; at a global scope and almost synchronized, we evolved more in three months than in 5 years. Rarely do we see something like the pandemic in humankind’s history. Now, the next stage is the Post- COVID era. But still, all aspects occurring now are not unexpected.

I think our industry will progress positively. People and organizations understood how important it is to pay attention to the way we work, how we manage, the use of technologies, and the relevance of corporate culture. All of this will help us unfold a more social, environmental, and economically sustainable business ecosystem.

The New Office Culture

360º: Which trends do you think are here to stay, and will change the way you plan to serve your customers?

ILE:

Distributed work passed the exam. On a global scale, we perceived the real stoppers were more in our heads than in our processes, technologies or the activities we couldn’t perform remotely. On the other hand, performance measurements will change significantly next. We all need to know our personal and team contribution to business goals and culture.

For us, the new focus is about how to generate a new client and employee experience. Less traditional face-to-face rituals and a smarter balance of time-effort-integrated sustainability shall help us define the new rules of the game.

“We are moving towards a working world with less rigid boundaries.”

Iñaki Lozano Ehlers,
Managing director at BICG

What Are We Missing?

360º: We learned a lot while working from home - why do you think we should still go to the office?

ILE:

Working partly from home while going to the office has always been a positive work practice. The equilibrium between working distributed and face to face has been and still is the recipe for successful work and work-life balance. For many of us, going to the office will remain a significant part of our working life. We will be more aware of what to do, when, and where, hence reflecting our office's real value.

Better Reasons To Go To The Office

360º: What is the role of the physical workplace for your company, and how does it help your organization to achieve its goals?

ILE:

During the last decades, the office has experienced a profound metamorphosis: migrating from a site designed mainly for individual work to a collaborative space. Due to technology, email, working on documents, or even attending meetings can be performed anywhere, so why should we go to the office?

The answer is explicit – performance and human nature as a social being. We perform better due to access to better technologies and appropriate facilities that nourish better outcomes. Together we learn more and faster by observing and interacting among colleagues. Or we seek the required quietness we may not find at home or anywhere else. More importantly, we want to experience where we belong; we go to the office to meet and chat with colleagues, get motivated and inspired, and enjoy the added benefit of a company.

Iñaki Lozano Ehlers is a managing director at BICG, an international consulting firm which specializes in innovative ways of working.

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