The office, a new place of seduction in the service of the employer brand?
After nearly two years of health crisis, the question of the utility of offices is still and always at the heart of concerns. The study carried out by the Elabe firm for Gecina among managers of large industrial groups and service companies provides some ideas.
Do we still need offices? This is the big question of the moment. In an attempt to answer it, Gecina asked the research and consulting firm Elabe to carry out a survey of 24 managers of large industrial groups and service companies between October 6, 2020, and January 20, 2021.
Societal phenomena at the origin of upheavals
Asked about the changes already at work in the world of work, the interviewees identified two major social phenomena that are seriously disrupting the way their business operates.
The first lies in the evolution of the meaning and function accorded to work. "Work is no longer just a means of subsistence, but a vector of fulfillment, search for meaning and social connection", details the study. The end of linear careers, the multiplication of experiences, recourse to mobility, training, and retraining are illustrations of this, which now go beyond the sole circle of “millennials”.
The second phenomenon concerns the accentuation of "the horizontalization of society" and "the delegitimization of authority figures". Employees aspire to more autonomy and responsibility within the company, even if it means shaking up the hierarchy. This desire to participate in decision-making has important managerial implications: it is the end of the traditional pyramid system and the consecration of "soft skills".
This horizontal movement has accelerated under the effect of digital transformation and the rise of new technologies which have led to an evolution of professions, the emergence of new ways of working, and increasing porosity between lives. professional and personal life.
The importance of human contact
Under the health constraint, teleworking is essential. If most companies draw up a positive assessment of the practice of the home office, "no manager interviewed believes in the capacity of their organizations to adopt a model which would make teleworking the new norm", affirms the study.
"The physical workspace is upgraded: it is the place of meeting, of spontaneous and informal exchange at the source of the idea, of the link that maintains the relationship with the company and the commitment. . "
The health crisis has of course accelerated trends but it has also shed light on fundamental concepts within companies. Indeed, “the essential character of human contact in the company is the major revelation of the crisis. » It allows us to collaborate, nurture the corporate culture and ensure the sustainability of the company. The physical workspace is also revalued: it is the place of meeting, of spontaneous and informal exchange at the source of the idea, of the link that maintains the relationship with the company and commitment.
Office real estate: make way for the evolving experience space
For the managers surveyed, the office real estate of tomorrow will have to fulfill three functions:
- A place of use and sharing, dedicated to teamwork. This vision has led to the creation of offices offering material and technological solutions adapted to new ways of working, with more space left for convivial spaces.
- A symbolic place of experience, a showcase that embodies the values and know-how of the company.
- A place of seduction, serving the employer brand to attract employees. For some, it is even part of the “value proposition” made to future recruits. To stand out from the competition, the company must be able to offer comfort, services, quality, and sustainable spaces, in the heart of metropolises.
The company as a new public space
Another point raised by the survey: the role of businesses. The expectations of society are becoming more and more high with regard to them. They are seen as major players in improving the world and are now given an expanded roadmap in terms of openness, inclusion, and CSR.
“The office, long considered a“ bunker ”to supervise the work of employees, has become a place where walls fall, with open spaces, in a logic of rationalization of costs first, transparency and communication then. This demonstration of openness was reflected in the way of arranging the space and in the choice of materials, in particular, the use of glazed surfaces is the sign ”, describes the study carried out by the firm Elabe.
This “de-bunkerization”, presented as a survival imperative for economic players, marks the end of traditional office real estate and the birth of a new sector to be invented: the business as a new public space.
© Gecina / Saguez & Partners / Eric Laignel