The digital era and the emergence of new professions are shaping the needs of the workers, who are increasingly looking for a different kind of office that can integrate traditional work functions with new, creative services. The rise of freelancers does, nonetheless, have an impact on the quest for new spaces that answer to a different work paradigm.
Recently, Unify, an IT and communications company, released The Way We Work, a survey collecting the opinions of 9.000 workers in Great Britain, Germany and US. The study specifically investigates the mood and point of view of the so-called knowledge workers, professional figures dealing with intangible goods and exploiting different competencies. Among them we find copywriters, art directors, IT specialists and writers, but also all those working in finance, marketing, product development and much more.
But which are the features of the ideal workplace? According to the survey, the office, in its classical definition, has been replaced by a more flexible space, which is defined as informal and less controlling by 90% and 95% of the people interviewed, respectively. Knowledge workers do therefore increasingly appreciate a free workplace, very different from the classic five-day, 40-hour workweek. Half of them do moreover positively value a creative space, defined by the presence of relax areas, as well as by the offering of networking activities.
69% of people interviewed suggest how working in a traditional office is less important than in the past, while 49% underline how their company operates through communication processes and technology, rather than in a physical space. Despite this, 23% of the workers report that they carry out the totality of their work in the office, which suggests how physicality is after all still a major factor. As one out of five workers define himself as freelancer, it is clear how innovative workplaces and coworking spaces represent strategic solutions in the evolving job market scenario.
But how do the knowledge workers perceive the changes in their career? Not only the workplace, but also the professions are re-shaping with the introduction of new digital competencies. This paradigm shift is testified by 35% of the interviewed workers that is convinced that their job will disappear in 5 years, while 65% of them think it won’t have the same characteristics.
The survey does therefore underline an evolving work world where professions are being re-shaped and spaces re-interpreted. In this light, companies need to re-think their activities and their mindset especially in relation to the needs of the knowledge workers, forerunners of the digital era.