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Well-being becomes cornerstone of office transformation

As we tiptoed into a new decade change has become part of our everyday life. Digital transformation alters office spaces, while the well-being of clerks receives increasing attention. Experts believe organizational health will be a crucial factor in how offices shape up in the next 10 years.

A few years ago, when the first coworking spaces appeared in Budapest, enthusiastic owners said that “digital nomads” will force offices to adapt to changing habits. Today, we see similar tendencies. (Photo: Scopio / Stefan Amer)

As employees’ mental and physical health at work comes to limelight, open-space offices are shifting into workspaces that resemble homes. Separate areas catering for different functionality (let that be highly-focused individual work in the quiet or team spirit dominated loud coworking) are popping up in these unusual concept offices.

“The employee will be in focus,” Tibor Jancsó, Manager of AGS Pro Kft dealer of König+Neurath in Hungary, told the Budapest Business Journal. “Multiple kinds of working areas will be implemented at the workplace to satisfy the different requirements in the course of a day, even,” he added.

Functionality comes in many tastes: brainstorming sessions in the lounge or during a meal or a tea; routine work at a sit-stand desk (specific workstations that allow employees to work while sitting or standing); concentrated work in a quiet room; phone conversations in a soundproof phone booth; recharging in a chill-out area; and creative work or even a meeting in a park. 

Jancsó says that digitalization supports these tendencies, spicing up the scenario with flexible working hours. A few years ago, when the first coworking spaces appeared in the heart of Budapest, enthusiastic owners said that “digital nomads” (who can work anytime and anywhere with an internet connection) will force offices to adapt to changing habits. Today, we do see similar tendencies.

Laptops developing into all-inclusive workstations enable white-collar workers to work remotely during the night if their circadian rhythm dictates that way. “Part home office, flexible working hours will be the norm. Digitalization will also support this type of well-being,” Jancsó said. He added that children’s rooms to support parents, and allowing pets into the offices will also become popular.

However, such measures can only come if they follow a rigorous floor plan. “Well-being is gaining ground. Essentially, it is the creation of high-quality office spaces based on strict requirements,” Júlia Réka Varjú, Head of Office Furniture department at Basic Collection in Hungary, told the BBJ.

Satisfaction at working space leads to efficient performance

Understanding how the working environment affects health is becoming more important, focusing on (but not limited to) factors such as air cleanliness, noise levels, optimal temperatures, and appropriate lighting.

Satisfaction at the working space leads to efficient performance, Varjú pointed out. Considering that recent human resources discussions in the majority center around how organizational health and engagement drive better performance and support retention, establishing attractive office spaces will be imperative in keeping turnover rates low.

“Creating a friendly atmosphere is also important, such as living-room-like areas ornamented by couches, lounge chairs, and pillows,” Varjú said.

“Sustainability is also coming to the forefront. On a small scale, we are talking about selective waste collection, cost-efficient lighting, and natural materials. On a large scale, it comes down to office building certification, complex energy-efficiency systems, and the usage of green building materials. Ergonomics is continuously important, but for today it is the part of the package and not an extra anymore,” she concluded.