An expert explains why “rotational offices” could be the future of work

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We all know that we need to get used to a ‘new normal’, but what exactly does this mean for the way we work in the office? Stylist speaks with an expert to find out more details.

Missing the watercooler chat with colleagues in the office? Slightly relieved about not having to waste valuable time in non-essential meetings? Fearful at the thought of hot-desking again? 

We’ve all got mixed feelings about working from home. But with lockdown easing, thoughts are starting to turn towards what offices will look like in the future. It’s clear that changes have to be made to comply with social distancing guidelines – but what exactly will this involve? In fact, will we even need to go back to work in an office at all?

Kathryn Bishop, from renowned trends consultancy The Future Laboratory, recently shared her predictions on the future of the office on the Working from Home with Stylist podcast. 

Speaking to Stylist’s editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarksi, Bishop discussed what might happen to the physical office, our ways of working and work/life balance.

“We might start to find what we describe as rotational offices start to emerge,”Bishop said. “This could almost be a riff on what we’ve seen in co-working spaces: there’s more of a casual office working space, maybe [rather] than having one solid permanent office space that your company uses. Even these buildings aren’t pandemic-proof anymore, they’re not fit for purpose, so we’re going to have architects really starting to think actually about the design of the office.”

Returning to work
Returning to work: offices might not look the same again.

She continued: “There’s also this need for greater flexibility. What we’ve found with people working from home, we’ve got used to having our own routines in a way, but we’re still looking towards our employers to give us guidance around what these routines need to be.”

Explaining how this will all affect our work/life balance, Bishop added: “The idea of ‘flexibility’ will absolutely underpin everything. Covid-19 has given women the opportunity to think about their own rhythm, it’s raised the level of attention to our own personal health, it’s reframed our working days. 

“A lot of people are tapping into their circadian rhythms thinking ‘hey I think I actually work really great between 6-9pm so actually I’m going to start my day later’. The employers themselves are going to have to start thinking about the greater flexibility that we’re going to need.” 

Bishop went on to say that our homes are going to be adapted in future, with things like “isolation rooms” and sound-proof home offices, in case another lockdown hits. But it’s not just because of the pandemic – it’s about “de-cellerating” our “always-on” lives, too. 

She explained: “I think it would be naive of us to think this will be a once-in-a-century experience. It might not necessarily be a virus again, it could be issues with things like air pollution, that’s become very transparent over the last few months. Even just having fewer people out on the roads can make a huge difference to our urban quality of living and our urban wellness.”

You can listen to the full interview on Working from Home with Stylist.

Series one of the Working from Home with Stylist podcast has now finished. But you can catch up with all 10 episodes on Spotify, Acast and Apple

For those missing the print edition, a digital edition of Stylist magazine has also been made available on the Apple News+ subscription channel, along with a standalone app. 

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…