What is the big companies’ vision of their post-COVID office?

Posted by: Julia van Ramshorst
What is the big companies’ vision of their post-COVID office?

The coronavirus is changing a lot in our lives. Not only is social interaction being hit hard, but the way we work is changing rapidly. Working from home is the new standard for many employees. As a result, more and more companies are starting to think critically about their office space. Perhaps this is also a topic that is being given a lot of thought for you. This, of course, also has an impact on office buildings. Some office buildings will be closed, some expanded or rearranged.

Several companies are investigating what the structural home working will mean for their current office space.1 Nieuwsuur conducted a survey among the 25 largest employers in the Netherlands to find out how they envisage the use of their offices after the end of the year.2 In this blog we discuss a number of striking changes in the office space of leading names in the Netherlands. What is their vision for their current office? We've found out for you.;

ABN AMRO

We know ABN AMRO as one of the largest banks in the Netherlands. With more than 19,000 employees, there must be of course enough space to give them all their own workplace. Since the corona crisis, most of the staff have started working from home. No less than 80 percent of the employees indicate that they are happy with this and would like to keep it that way.3 ABN AMRO has no problems with this either, given that the level of work has not declined. The question, then, is what will happen to the office buildings?

ABN AMRO's office space requirements are expected to fall by 40 percent, the bank itself says. That's almost a halving of the space they have now. Large parking lots will be eliminated, and the space that does get used in office buildings will be revised. Thus, in the future, there will be more meeting places and fewer workstations.3 There will still be the option to work in the office. Many employees indicate that they would be happy to come to the office for two or three days if desired. However, there are also still workers who will simply spend five days in the office because they do not have the space or quiet at home to be able to work in a concentrated manner.

TomTom

According to TomTom, the use of office is not going to be like it was before. TomTom, a well-known international player in providing location technology, was already hit right from the beginning of COVID-19 in China. Since then, still all 4,500 employees, spread over 30 different countries, work from home.

Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, TomTom had envisioned setting up a program for new people. This was done mainly because recruiting, hiring and onboarding is a difficult and intensive process for TomTom. They want to be able to really immerse their new employees in their company culture. It was quickly noticed that the months of working from home because of COVID-19 was having a negative effect on both new employees and the rest of the staff. TomTom therefore also developed an international well- being program, where complaints such as stress or burnout can be addressed. Where necessary, special support programs were then deployed.4

Activity-based working

In addition, it was investigated to what extent the employees wanted to return to the office. Previously, all employees worked on average 4 to 5 days at the head office on the Ruyterkade in Amsterdam. But the research showed that most employees do not want to return to the old situation.

That's why TomTom developed its own post-coronation strategy, activity-based working. This means that in the future every employee will decide for themselves when they go to the office. They are completely flexible and everything is possible in terms of location and working hours, in consultation with the rest of the team. As a result, the offices will also be redesigned, with a focus on making it fun to come to the office. There will be more flex spaces and meeting places such as coffee corners and brainstorming rooms. This has already been implemented in India and France. The redesign of the offices in Amsterdam and Eindhoven is still in the planning.4

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Office space for rent at the Huizingalaan Amsterdam

Office space for rent located on Johan Huizingalaan 763a, Amsterdam

Achmea

At Achmea, they would like to take the step to reduce the number of square meters of office space, but they don't think it's responsible to dive into this right away without doing any kind of research. That is why they are now working on pilots. This means that they are first looking at how they can make working from home as easy and efficient as possible in all areas. If this is successful, more Achmea employees will be given the opportunity to work permanently from home.

It is not yet entirely clear whether Achmea then wants to sell or sublet the square meters. The number of square meters, however, will be reduced if the pilots go well and so there will be no expansion. If the pilots go well, the intention is that the office will only be used for meetings and to meet each other so that there is still a connection with the company. Work will then be done at home. Of course, employees who are unable to work from home will still be able to visit the office.5

Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank has also already managed to take significant steps to reduce its square footage. They were one of the first to take action. Initially they had three office buildings in use: one in Driebergen and two in Zeist. Now that there is also more focus on sustainable offices, they decided to keep only the sustainable office in Driebergen in use. Triodos Bank employs over a thousand staff, but the office can only accommodate 550. The intention here is also that the office will only be used by co-workers who really need it, and for any meetings. After a survey among the employees, it turned out that the majority of the team is quite happy at home. They would still like to come to the office once in a while to meet colleagues and customers.6

AFAS Software

One of the most inspiring changes in terms of office premises is that of AFAS Software. They have completely thrown themselves into the 'new normal'. What exactly does that mean? Where an office used to be mainly used as a workplace, it is now set up as an innovative idea where employees have all the space they need to develop themselves, to work where possible but also to relax.

Work and relaxing office

The office of AFAS Software now consists of approximately 20% workstations where employees can go if they would like to work in the office or if they do not have the possibility to work at home. The rest of the space is used for training customers and presenting new software, among other things. There are also opportunities to use a gym or meditation room. Of course, the landscaped park, in which the building is located, should not be missed either. Basically, this has become an office where you can unwind and clear your head for a while, as well as a place where you can accompany customers.7

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Office space for rent in Rotterdam at the Hofplein 20

Office space for rent located on Hofplein 20, Rotterdam

VodafoneZiggo

Currently, VodafoneZiggo has over 7,500 employees. They allow everyone - with the exception of mechanics and salespeople - to work from home two to three days a week. This means that the office locations will be less occupied, because working from home is also quite popular here. However, VodafoneZiggo is not going to close or sell office locations. They are, on the other hand, thinking about subletting certain floors. This means that the office building will still be owned by VodafoneZiggo, but that another company can enter into a lease agreement with the telecom company to use that floor. In this way VodafoneZiggo can generate monthly income while they themselves do not lose anything.8

What are the other companies doing in the Netherlands?

It is expected that many companies will choose to sublease or redecorate (part of) their office building. Since more and more employees have the possibility to work from home and this suits them well.

In some cases it is not possible to work from home or people still work more productively in the office. Some employees also need to be able to have direct contact with their colleagues from different departments, for example. Simply working together on location is then the easiest and most favourable outcome. In addition, it also gives employees more of a sense of belonging when they do this together in the office. In that case, it may be more convenient to look for an office building that offers more space or on a flexible basis. That way, you can still guarantee that 1.5 meters while just having a fixed place to work on business.

You can also start thinking about redesigning your office with meeting spaces. At AFAS Software and TomTom, for example, we saw that the office is moving more towards a different function. The focus is more on relaxation and meeting in an office. Working will become more flexible in times and location.

Do you need help with your future office?

What is your future vision of your current office? Do you want to sublet your office or are you looking for a (flexible) new office to rent for your company? Then contact us today for a completely free and no strings attached service. We would love to help you find your ideal office.

 

Used sources

1 NOS - Grote werkgevers gaan na corona kantoorruimte schrappen - 31 januari 2021

2 Nieuwsuur - Uitzending Revolutie op de kantorenmarkt door corona - 31 januari 2021

3 RTL Nieuws - Maximaal twee dagen op kantoor wordt het nieuwe normaal bij ABN Amro - 10 juli 2020

4 MT / Sprout - Hoe vaak je naar kantoor komt, bepaal je bij TomTom zelf - 14 april 2021

5  De Actuaris - De toekomst van thuiswerken - oktober 2020

6  Noordhollands Dagblad -  Ondernemers zoeken naar het Nieuwe Normaal: moeten kantoren kleiner of juist groter? - 1 maart 2021 

7  AFAS - AFAS presenteert jaarcijfers en geeft toekomst van werk gezicht met nieuw pand - 26 januari 2021 

8  XperthHR - Zo gaat VodafoneZiggo na corona door met thuiswerken - 16 december 2020