With the exception of a few countries, the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be behind us. Companies can’t wait to open their offices and welcome their employees back again. However, how often we’ll want to return to the office and how employees will see the role of it in the coming years seems to have changed considerably. Toogethr researched how employees in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany view the Future Workplace.

Feeling positive about working from home

The COVID-19 prevention measures present the same picture almost everywhere. Some corporations have closed their offices worldwide until they can open everything up again. Other companies have found a hybrid solution in which employees, to a greater or lesser degree, are still allowed to come to the office for one or more days. In any case, the vast majority of employees have experienced what it’s like to work at home on a regular basis. Our survey results show that how people feel about working from home doesn’t change much from country to country. In Germany, people are most positive about it, with 73% of those surveyed rating their experience of working from home as good or very good. In Belgium (70%) and the Netherlands (60%), the percentage is slightly lower, but still predominantly positive.

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The benefits of working from home are driving change

In all three countries, the elimination of travel time is seen as the most important advantage of working from home. While this percentage is not overly high in Belgium (59%), the lack of commuting is seen as a definitive advantage for employees in the Netherlands (77%) and Germany (83%). In addition, being able to plan their own working hours and doing some housework in between are the most frequently mentioned benefits. The most striking conclusion gathered from all of the results is that the advantages of working from home are causing employees to plan to go to the office for fewer days in the future. In Germany, this expected change is the biggest, from an average of 4.7 before the pandemic, to an average of 3.2 after. The number of expected office days would also be structurally lower in Belgium (from 4.4 to 3.0 days) and the Netherlands (from 4.1 to 2.8 days),

The main advantage of working from home is eliminating the commute.

The changing role of the office

Not only will we have fewer offices; we also expect to use the office differently. What we’ve learned over the past year makes us realise that the office remains important for maintaining social contacts. Spontaneous contact and face-to-face consultations with colleagues are mentioned most often when asked what people miss most these days. Because we have seen that the work can be carried out perfectly well at home, the role of the office seems to be changing structurally. This assumption is supported by the results of the study, as in every country, people will soon see the office more as a place for face-to-face meetings than as a location for carrying out work. This result also fits in with the increasing need of employees to be flexible with their working hours and to be able to determine their own work routine.

The office will become the place to have meetings rather than the location where the work is carried out.

Sustainability, mobility and parking are becoming increasingly important

As the role of the office is changing, many companies are accelerating their plans to redesign their working environment. This is also an effective time to bring themes such as mobility and sustainability to the fore. After all, smart and sustainable mobility fits in perfectly with a more flexible approach to your employees’ commute. Think of solutions such as ridesharing and stimulating cycling within your organisation. In this way, you not only contribute to achieving climate objectives, but you also meet employees’ needs for a more diverse and sustainable mobility offer.

More flexible commuting and fewer people in the office also means that you have to deal with varying parking occupancy. Toogethr’s smart parking solutions offer the perfect tool to optimise your parking capacity. By using real-time data and integrating a reservation portal, you can get insights into the use of your parking facilities at any time.

Curious about our smart mobility and parking solutions? Feel free to contact us, we’ll be happy to tell you more.