How to get employees back to the office

Changed working methods in a hybrid world are imposing new demands on the workplace. With the opportunities created by modern technology – how should the office be designed in order for employees to appreciate its benefits and value?

The importance and design of office space is being discussed more than ever before. Striving for innovation, creativity, problem-solving and efficiency while promoting the health, well-being and satisfaction of employees is a key issue for many organisations. Everything from working methods, office layout and workflow, to technology and work-life balance is under scrutiny. And it’s growing increasingly important not only to retain employees but also to attract new ones. The office plays an important role in this respect as a carrier of culture, a hub and a place where the organisation’s image and values are reflected. But the bar has been raised and now the office is competing with the home.

The most common pitfall when striving to create an attractive office

“The most common pitfall is undoubtedly rushing straight to the solution, rather than identifying and analysing the actual needs,” contends Henrik Axell. He works with change management and needs analyses to help organisations create working environments that promote well-being, efficiency and productivity. Henrik Axell describes how many organisations jump on the trend of designing the office as a meeting place with social spaces to attract people into the workplace – but forget that spaces for working separately and with a high focus are also essential. If employees don’t have access to this type of space in the office, they will prefer working from home. An office only becomes attractive when it’s both aesthetically pleasing AND gives employees the necessary conditions to perform all their tasks in the best possible way.

A successful office should be designed to support both individual and collaborative work. But the extent to which the office space should be divided between these two depends on the specific organisation’s needs. One size does not fit all. Getting the right balance between social interaction and focused work is crucial to cultivating a thriving and productive workplace.


Henrik Axell, Head of Workplace Strategy, Kinnarps AB

A successful office should be designed to support both individual and collaborative work.

The key to designing an office that employees want to come to

“Our many years of experience in workplace design, where we’ve implemented over 350 workplace changes using Kinnarps’ methodology and Next Office® needs analysis, shows that solid preparatory work creates success,” says Henrik Axell. The key is to map unique needs and work patterns. This lays the groundwork to achieve the best and most sustainable solution.

Next Office® helps to gather valuable knowledge and data before designing workspaces. With specially developed tools, the management team is guided through the work of establishing the vision, goals and framework for the project. Through workshops, lectures and online surveys, needs and work patterns are mapped out and the staff are involved in a well-thought-out manner. The focus is on thinking ahead and opening up to new ideas about the best way to use the office to create benefits and value.