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Companies rethink offices as they adapt to younger workers

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Round table discussion at an event held by bbf: in Limassol

Ksenia Bitulina, an HR specialist with over 20 years of experience, recently used her participation at an event held by bbf: in Limassol to offer insights into the rapidly evolving landscape of traditional office spaces in today’s digital era.

Her analysis touched on how companies are handling workers’ demands to work from home, and the implementation of the hybrid working model, among other things. 

With her extensive background spanning strategic planning, corporate culture, employer branding, and talent development across diverse industries, Bitulina brought a wealth of executive management skills and a scientific approach to her analysis. 

“In this digital transformation era,” said Bitulina, “the traditional office is being reevaluated as organisations adapt to changing work dynamics.”

ksenia bitulina picture1
Ksenia Bitulina

She emphasised that “approximately 80 per cent of all meetings are now conducted either completely virtually or in hybrid formats,” highlighting the growing acceptance of remote work practices.

This trend, particularly embraced by younger employees prioritising flexibility and work-life balance, prompts a reassessment of office necessity. 

Bitulina further explained the notion of the “third place,” foreseeing the office of the future as a space that intersects and overlaps with other environments like home and work.  

This concept, also known as the “Office of the Future as a ‘third place,'” refers to physical workspaces that encourage collaboration and collective intelligence, fostering a sense of well-being and community.  

Those involved in the construction or refurbishment of offices are taking inspiration from third places as they design the next generation of workplaces to make them smarter, cooler, more homely, and more environmentally friendly 

It is now important to promote unexpected interaction through more inviting workflow and features for exchange, such as corridors, high ceilings, big windows, fresh air, and staircases. Some companies do not hesitate to support “domestic” rituals in these spaces, such as naps and games, like table tennis and video games. 

“For young professionals who entered the workforce during the pandemic,” said Bitulina, “the ‘anywhere office’ has become the norm.”

However, she said that they “seek compelling reasons to visit physical office spaces,” highlighting the need for conducive environments fostering well-being and a sense of belonging. 

Simultaneously, traditional workplaces are undergoing significant changes, driven by a growing awareness of employee well-being and work-life balance.

Technology advancements have facilitated remote work and flexibility, making it more achievable and sustainable.

This evolution reflects a broader shift towards creating work environments prioritising employee happiness and productivity. 

However, despite these insights, the employee’s choice is multifaceted. Recent statistics reveal that only 15 per cent prefer office work.

In comparison, 28 per cent opt for remote work, and a significant 57 per cent favour a hybrid approach, reflecting the diverse preferences within the workforce. 

With forecasts indicating that 27 per cent of the workforce will be Gen Z by 2025, it becomes increasingly crucial to consider their priorities.

This generation values flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance more than its predecessors. About half of Gen Zers report that they would quit their job if it interfered with their work-life balance, underlining the importance of accommodating their preferences in shaping the future of office spaces. 

The future of office space is not just about physical locations but also about creating environments that support collaboration, innovation, and well-being.

Employers increasingly recognise the benefits of flexible work arrangements, including enhanced productivity, and reduced operational costs.  

Meanwhile, employees cherish the autonomy and the opportunity to design a work environment that suits their personal and professional needs.

However, Bitulina is concerned that, “The challenge lies in maintaining a sense of community and collaboration in a dispersed work environment.” 

To address these challenges, Bitulina explored the concept of the office as a “third place” — not just a site for work, but a space for social interaction and creativity.

She reasoned that the future office must evolve to meet the needs of a changing workforce, particularly Gen Z, who value flexibility, technology, and social interaction.

“The office of the future will be a connection of innovation, designed to foster connections and nurture well-being,” Bitulina added. 

“The office is not just a place; it’s a concept that embodies our approach to work and community“, she concluded.  

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