The traditional office needs upgrading – new study indicates need for a multi-faceted workplace

Growing expectations for a sustainable and flexible work life also open opportunities for employers to create inclusive workplaces that make their business more competitive. This requires upgrading the traditional office so that more employee needs can be met. These are the results of a new AI study carried out on behalf of the property companies Wihlborgs, Fabege and Diös.

Even though employee needs vary over time and during a work day, and therefore their need for different types of environments, employers highlight the role of the office as a social and collaborative space in their communications. Employees, on the other hand, signal a significantly wider range of needs, with a clear expectation of autonomy and increased awareness of their own well-being.

In a world of hybrid work, the office can be a place that provides the best conditions for different kinds of work, especially if there are places where employees can go to concentrate on their work or recharge their energy.

Some of the conclusions:

  • The office needs to meet four basic needs: collaboration, socialising, concentration and recovery.
  • Correctly managed, the office can be an employer’s strongest competitive advantage and recruitment tool, as well as an opportunity to create well-being, inclusion and social sustainability for employees.
  • Companies highlight the office primarily as a place for creative collaboration and socialising. They fail to mention other important roles of the office – such as a place for concentrated work or recovery – which are important for many employees who prefer a hybrid way of working.
  • Employees expect increased autonomy and the opportunity for hybrid work.
  • Searches for “Office design” have increased 220 percent since the most recent measurement (2021) and 587 percent since the very first (2019), while searches for “Working from home” have decreased drastically. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that today there is less focus on where work is carried out and more on the adaptations that need to be made at the office to create a better work environment.
  • There is a strong need for freedom and the opportunity for a work-life balance.

The study was carried out by Navet Analytics in partnership with on behalf of the Öresund-based Wihlborgs, Stockholm-based Fabege and Diös, which operates from Borlänge to Luleå. The data consists of 10,800 social media posts from private individuals and Sweden’s 50 largest companies as well as approximately 2.1 million Google searches from October 2021 to September 2023. The collected material was then grouped and clustered by an AI engine, after which it was analysed by analysts, anthropologist and semioticians.

Background to the study

In just a few years, opinions and expectations regarding the work place have changed drastically. In parallel with this, data shows that there have never been so many people on sick leave due to stress. The research is clear: work environment is the most important factor in this trend. This is where property companies have an important task – helping find solutions for work places that meet new needs. Regardless of location, the questions and challenges are similar in this respect.

The goal of the study has been to evaluate the digital conversation and queries regarding work and the office in order to analyse the significance of these trends for designing the office premises of tomorrow.

“It is no longer enough to ‘entice’ employees back to the office. Instead, attention must be given to the whole person and to creating work environments that allow for well-being as well as productivity. You shouldn’t need to work at home to be able to concentrate,” says Ulrika Hallengren, CEO of Wihlborgs.

“What we call an office has a central function in the lives of many. The office is important for creating community, belonging and enthusiasm. Still, it’s important for all of us to be open and responsive to developments, not least because of new technology. We believe and hope that this report can support this development,” says Stefan Dahlbo, CEO of Fabege.

“Attractive offices are the engine of a city’s growth. What makes an office attractive is largely defined by employees, and to create long-term sustainable office concepts we need always be curious about how we can meet our tenants’ needs and wishes,” says Knut Rost, CEO of Diös.

About the study

Social media is often used to share ambitions, visions and an idealised version of ourselves. The terms we search for show, to a greater extent, the thoughts and reflections we have that we do not communicate as openly. Combining these data channels provides a well-balanced analysis of people’s opinions and desires.

The data behind the study consists of 10,800 social media posts from private individuals and Sweden’s 50 largest companies as well as approximately 2.1 million Google searches from October 2021 to September 2023.

The study is the third in a series of investigations into our ways of working and using the office. This method enables us to study how views on work and the office have changed over time and the trends that have been confirmed over the long term after a period of significant changes in behaviour and digital maturity.

The first two studies were carried out on behalf of Wihlborgs, while the third on behalf of Wihlborgs, Fabege and Diös.

The study can be read in their entirety here. The report is in Swedish.

Fabege AB (publ)

31 Jan 2024 7:30 AM

For more information

Anna Nambord, Business Developer and Workplace Advisor, Wihlborgs,, +46 40 690 57 54

Niclas Ternstål, Business Developer Customer offering, Fabege,, +46 8 555 148 18

Therese Borssén, Business Developer and Workplace Strategist, Diös,, +46 10 470 95 82

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