Navigating the future of work: Insights from Dutcham's transformative event with DVM and Ditt Officemakers

In a rapidly changing world, the way we work and the spaces we work in are evolving at an unprecedented pace.

To delve into the intricacies of this transformation, our members DVM and Ditt Officemakers recently hosted an enlightening event with Dutcham.

The event focused on the metamorphosis of office spaces, influenced by global changes such as the pandemic, agile work methods, advanced ICT solutions, and the growing prominence of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulations. The overarching theme emphasised the need for offices to support collaboration, connection, and memorable experiences while addressing practical questions about adapting to evolving work patterns.

ESG: a high priority for companies

A significant highlight of the event was the unanimous recognition of the importance of ESG principles among workshop participants. An impressive 68% of attendees, predominantly from the real estate sector, identified ESG as a top priority for their companies. Notably, 52% of these participants focused predominantly on the environmental aspects within the ESG framework. Moreover, an overwhelming 87% of respondents affirmed that their workplaces were committed to diversity and inclusion, with active support for local charities.

Future of work: challenges and opportunities

The feedback from workshop participants shed light on one of the foremost challenges faced in the post-COVID era – convincing employees to return to the office, even if only part-time.

Two-thirds of the surveyed group currently work from the office 3-4 days per week. However, a staggering 75% expressed their willingness to spend more time in the office if the design better aligned with their needs.

Kata Nett, Workplace Consultant from DVM Group, captured this sentiment, noting, "Based on the feedback of the workshop participants, one of the biggest challenges of the moment and the future after COVID is still to convince employees to come back to work at least part-time from the office. Making the office space and culture inviting and appealing is key. It is important to emphasise to people that the office is not only for work but also for collaboration and building relationships. It is supposed to be a community, not a prison."

When asked about the essential elements of office design, the majority of respondents highlighted factors related to social collaboration opportunities. Additionally, appropriate lighting emerged as a critical factor, with Kata stating, "Ideally, that means a good combination of natural and artificial lights."

Mental Health: prioritising well-being in the workplace

While stress and anxiety are common in the lives of many employees, the event's feedback revealed a positive outlook among the surveyed guests. Kata acknowledged the prevalence of stress but urged a shift in perspective, saying, "We shouldn't accept that being in constant stress is part of our lives. It is something that must be changed."

“Companies are increasingly focusing on supporting mental health, for example by providing spaces for relaxation and yoga, offering counselling services and giving due consideration to office acoustics. There is still a long way to go," said Kata, emphasising the importance of continued efforts to support mental well-being.

Dutcham's event, in collaboration with DVM and Ditt Officemakers, provided a comprehensive exploration of the current and future state of office spaces. As we navigate this transformative era, the lessons learned from this event serve as a valuable guide for companies seeking to adapt successfully to the evolving landscape of work.