What do people actually want from the buildings of the future?

A new study by Schindler Elevator identifies key trends workers desire in their shared spaces post-pandemic

September 22, 2021 - by commARCH
Send this article to a friend
What do people actually want from the buildings of the future?

A survey done by G&S Business Communications on behalf of Schindler Elevator Corporation using the responses from 1142 respondents.

July 2021

Image Credits: Schindler Elevator and Adobe


What are the key findings?

Americans returning to a physical office space continue to prioritize hygiene and safety beyond the pandemic.
  • When asked whether they prefer a high-tech workplace, a sustainable workplace, a workplace with modern design or a safe and hygienic workplace, over half of Americans (53%) said a safe and hygienic workplace is most important.

Many Americans who will be going back to an office or other physical work location believe the impact of the COVID-19 on their behaviors will carry on beyond the pandemic.
  • More than half say they will continue to have increased awareness of proximity to other people (55%).
  • More than half say they have an increased awareness of surfaces they touch (54%). 
  • More than half say they have increased personal hygiene practices (52%).
- Most of the members of this group say hand sanitizer stations (64%), touchless technology (52%) and advanced air cleaning technology (52%) will be must-haves in the workplace.

Today’s workplaces are not satisfying workers’ needs and preferences.
  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents say hygiene features in the physical workplace are extremely or very important.
- Only a quarter are very satisfied (25%) with current hygiene features.
  • Over half (54%) say sustainable features at their physical workplace are extremely or very important
- Only 16% are very satisfied with how well their physical work location has incorporated environmentally sustainable features.
  • Sixty-six percent say it is extremely or very important that the physical work location is accessible to all employees
- Only 30% are very satisfied with the current level of accessibility at their work location.

Image Credits: Schindler Elevator and Adobe


Americans face many challenges in the physical workspace, from psychological to physical. 
  • Nearly half of respondents (47%) say they face challenges avoiding distractions in the
  • workplace.
  • Over a third (34%) face challenges with negative health effects (e.g., air quality, allergies). 
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) have difficulty getting around the office.

The ideal workspace is large and open, with plenty of private offices.

Aspects of nature, such as outdoor space, proximity to waterways, natural light and plants are highly desirable in the workplace of the future.