5 Tips to Rework Your Office Space in the Post Pandemic World
The rise of hybrid and remote working has shaken how the world now works – so do these changes mean offices have become redundant? Come 2022 it’s clear we need an office – however many have downsized to accommodate the smaller team dynamic. With less space comes more optimisation of your space. The drastic workplace changes that occurred because of the pandemic have meant offices haven’t become redundant but their use of purpose has changed.
Employees still need a physical space to come together and connect. A report done by Gensler showed that people wanted to return to the workplace but had the option of more flexibility in where they worked.
The office will continue to be relevant – but it needs to evolve. Remote and hybrid work has proved valuable for employees and the physical office needs to adapt to fit into this new work style. Instead of being the central focus of work, it is becoming a tool to be used when wanted or needed.
In-person communication helps promote healthy physical, emotional and mental stimulation for everyone. Having a commonplace for employees to go is still essential to most businesses. We have identified five areas that will help guide this change in workplace design and daily operation.
1. Where are Your Employees?
So then, how do you utilise a smaller space? Plan and build it with your employees and people in front of mind. If you have a mixture of remote, hybrid and office staff on rotation, think about where they will be throughout the day and maximise the space to suit this. How do you utilise a smaller space? Plan and build it with your employee’s location and needs in mind.
2. Reduced Office Space
With fewer employees coming in every day – there isn’t a demand for huge headquarters and offices. So for businesses who have downsized their office space, it’s vital to re-imagine how the layout can still be collaborative and open.
Creating an audit of your current space, analysing areas of improvement, and seeing how the space is used will be a helpful tool in reworking the space. A common trend we’ve seen with smaller offices is bench-style workstations and open-plan layouts to maximise space and create a collaborative approach to working.
3. How Employees Work
Reduced density of employees can be a benefit for businesses that need quiet office space. To create this, offering ‘staggered’ shifts for hybrid employees to come in and out on a schedule or having set days for specific teams to go in.
Alternatively one of our major challenges in office design is ensuring the right placements of fabrics to absorb sounds and create a comfortable working environment.
Not everyone works better from home; according to a study done by Reworked, nearly 60 per cent of participants said the individual focus at home is challenging.
4. Think about Meetings
Fewer people coming into the office means that meetings will be held with smaller, more intimate groups. This would mean that meeting rooms will be used more frequently by more people. To counter any issues this may cause – create a booking system for rooms/spaces to minimise traffic and confusion for all involved.
5. Design and Functionality
There are many small details in the design and layouts of an office space that can affect how employees work. A study done by the University College London found that limiting the number of people visible from your desk correlates to the greater sense of control the participants felt over their environment. That same study found that those participants had an easier time collaborating and higher emotional stability at work.
The outdated style of cubicles and individual desks have had their time, but now we must start looking at the future of workplace design. Collaborative spaces that fit the needs of remote and in-office employees are the way to go. With fewer employees needing to go into the office, it has become a space for collaboration. Creating these spaces for teams is important, whether a cluster of desks or a sectioned off seating area for privacy.
It’s clear that employees still value connectivity between their colleagues for their emotional well-being and productivity and feel part of a team and community. Instead of getting caught in the details, lean into approaches that work best for your team.
We are in a time of change, flexibility and personalisation, and we can use this to foster a collaborative space that has been lacking in the past two years. At A1 Office, we are always looking at what changes are being made to the workplace and how to help businesses adapt to this change through their design and functionality. If you’d like to keep updated with new trends, sign up for our newsletter today.