A note from the Guest Editor of 'How will the contemporary workplace transform in the post-Covid-19 period?'
I work as an assistant professor and the head of the Centre for Workplace Research at the Prague University of Economics and Business. I am an organizational sociologist who researches the contemporary workplace and all that goes with this. For the last year or so, I have predominantly concentrated on understanding how modern workplaces will change post-pandemic.
I did two recent and relevant scholarly pieces with Emerald Publishing which looked at aspects of this topic. The first looked towards a classification of various types of coworking spaces and clarified the scholarly, as well as the industry usage of a coworking model. The main finding was the creation of a taxonomy of contemporary coworking spaces, considering the broad spectrum of shared workspaces that commonly receive the coworking label; importantly, this classification specifies the features required to warrant that label. The paper provides a framework for understanding the defining factors of a coworking model. The taxonomy showcases four unalike types of coworking spaces and the three types of non-coworking shared offices that are repeatedly and mistakenly labelled as coworking environments. The classification will be significant in the post-pandemic period. The disruption will likely result in a swift popularisation of coworking spaces and similar collaborative work environments.
Also recently published and relevant to how work may change in the future, is my special issue on transforming modern workplace environments that I edited for the Journal of Corporate Real Estate. The first special issue out of the two contains four exciting scholarly papers. First, Fruzsina Pataki-Bitto and Kata Kapusy explore the work environments and their transformation in the post-covid-19 period based on the work values. The research undertakes a mix-methods approach by examining the work values of 28 focus groups and subsequently conducting a large-scale survey with 773 correspondents. The collected data presents a work value theory for Generation Z, which reflects their expectations of onsite workplaces and the changing nature of their work values
Second, Manuel Mayerhoffer investigates the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on coworking spaces in Germany. Mayerhoffer dives into the qualitative data obtained on the sample of 77 German-based coworking spaces and uses descriptive statistics to analyse how has the pandemic-related abrupt halt of the coworking industry affected these collaborative work hubs as well as their users. The key finding here shows that coworking environments have been rather fast adapting to the said changes and sought alternative ways to accommodate their user-bases.
Third, Cynthia Hou, Hilde Ramoy, Tuuli Jylha and Herman Vande Putte present a study on office workplace modifications during the pandemic and showcase the evidence from the survey they ran in the Netherlands. The purpose of their research has been to explore how organisations respond to forces from the external environment such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and how they adapt their office workplace management strategically to suit the stakeholders’ needs. What has been fascinating by their study is that the said organisations tend to remodel their business and opt for portfolio transformation, agile portfolio strategies and the general redesing of their office environments.
Finally, Samin Marzban, Iva Durakovic, Christhina Candido and Martin Mackey present a study on the experience of Australian workers and organizational representatives during the first Covid-related lockdowns and how these lockdowns impacted the learning curve that workers had when transitioning to their home offices. Authors design two separate surveys to target Australian organisations and knowledge workers. While organisations largely outlined the need for ensuring workplace health and safety standards to maintain the organisational culture and acceptable level of productivity, knowledge workers were mainly concerned about the absence of social interactions and increased workload.
All papers in this special issue will be free access until the end of the year. I hope you will enjoy these papers. If you are exploring how work and work environments are transforming and developing due to the pandemic, please contact me to explore research synergies that would result in collaboration.
Marko Orel, PhD
Prague University of Economics and Business
Center for Workplace Research / CWER