Does the COVID-19 era mark the end of the office workspace?
In these uncertain times, the future of the traditional office space has become a hot topic. The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the transition out of corporate workspaces and into home offices, and in some cases an entirely online workforce.
So, does this spell the end of the communal office space?
We say no – in fact this situation heightens the need and importance for better, more supportive workspaces. It’s clear now more than ever that workspaces after COVID need to ensure:
- Employee Health and Wellbeing
If at the end of the pandemic we only take away one thing, it should be that the health and wellbeing of everyone should be at the forefront of all our minds. This includes when creating effective, functional and enjoyable workspaces. Yet here’s the challenge, doing so is often unique to your company, your culture and your staff.
In general terms this means creating enough space, and the right types of spaces. Creating a well-designed space means making places that foster both privacy and collaboration – for productivity and autonomy and an outlet for help when needed. It takes an expert in design, movement and culture to effectively achieve this. In general terms this means to have a desk and meeting spaces that’s well considered. Every area is intentional and has purpose. Autonomous breakout areas and staff kitchens need to cater to the needs of those who use them, at the time they utilise it.
- Defined Workplaces, Defined Goals
By having a defined workplace, it is much easier to focus and get down to the task at hand. It’s been proven that having a set location and environment for work tricks your brain into increased productivity. By having a place that is designated purely for work, employees will find themselves increasingly productive and motivated. A quiet, relaxed office environment can support this and this can be optimally achieved by modifying the office layout.
- Shared Experiences and Collaboration
In a study by Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, staff who were given the opportunity to voluntarily work from home ended up feeling isolated and lonely without interaction with their coworkers. Coming to a shared and well designed workplace gives workers the opportunity to interact with their coworkers, actively collaborate and work together in pursuit of a common goal thus increasing morale, productivity, and innovation.
Although we’re not suggesting things go back to exactly how they’ve always been, it’s clear that defined office spaces are an essential part of workplace productivity and culture. They promote connection, achievement and a work culture of ‘working together’. While employee health and wellbeing has always been at the heart of A1 Office’s workspace design ethos, it’s now more important than ever, and will continue to be so as we create and empower future workspaces.
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