The easiest way to handle your return to the office is to make changes in your workplace design. If you want a safe workplace you need to structure it after social distancing guidelines and therefore there might be need for some refurnishing.
A majority of workers don’t want to work from the office full time. Instead, they want the flexibility to work both from home and from the office. Voilà! The flexible workplace is here!
As your employees will spend some days at home and some days at the office – your workplace rarely will be full. The occupancy will decrease, and seats will be left empty. But do not despair, this doesn’t mean that the purpose of the workplace is lost. It just means that its character has changed.
Let’s go through the different spaces you need to create a great, flexible workplace!
The new purpose for the office is to be the place where you meet your coworkers. How does that differ from before? Well, back in the days the office where the place you did your work, with emphasis on you. Now, the joint belief is that work can be done from everywhere as long as you have a good internet connection.
This means that the main function of the workplace is to meet colleagues and customers, exchange ideas and socialize. Therefore, you will need well planned collaboration space that includes:
Meeting rooms: A no-brainer. You still need to hold meetings. Don’t forget to equip all your rooms with video conferencing tools to make it easy to collaborate with remote workers. Read our room equipment checklist to make sure your meeting rooms are up-to-date!
Informal meeting spaces: Some meetings are easier to conduct in a more relaxed environment. It’s also great when you just want to have a quick chat with your colleagues.
Lounge areas: Lounge areas tend to provoke pictures of grand and luxurious office receptions. And by all means, they can be, but if you’re not a multinational corporation is might seem a bit over the top. Just keep it simple – nice furniture that gives your visitors a positive first impression is good enough. Add some visitor management tools and suddenly you’re on fire!
There’s still a need for workstations that your employees can sit down and do their work. After all, we want to be able to work from the office as well as from home. Just remember that you need to provide two types of desk space:
Quiet space: For when people want to work undisturbed.
Open space: This basically refers to the open-floor plan.
We recommend that you invest in some kind of hot-desking solution to help you manage your desks. Our solution Meetio Desk let's your employees book desks both ad-hoc and in advance. It also let's you control your workplace maximum capacity.
Even if you don’t feel the need to sit quiet and prefer the open, buzzing space – sometimes you need to sit somewhere else in respect of your colleagues. If you, for example, answer a call out in an open space your coworkers will probably give you an odd look.
This is what you need:
Huddle rooms: Ad-hoc, small rooms for one to two persons. A perfect addition to the open desk space.
Phone booths: For when you need to make a call and don’t want everyone to listen to it.
Imagine the dream office: happy coworkers, ideas flowing and a lot of motivation flowing around.
The social interactions are by no wonder what people have missed the most during these months of lockdowns, quarantine and working from home. One of the major disadvantages that has come to light after a longer period of remote work is that many employees have expressed challenges with mental-health and loneliness. A return to office is therefore not only important in relation to business goals, but also to get employees back on the social wagon again.
Social distancing policies will probably not disappear anytime soon, but we still need to be able to hang out and socialize with each other. If we step out of the design theme for a moment – what is the workplace really except for a place where wo go to work?
Well, it’s the place where we create our business culture, our values and our feeling of belonging. Don’t you agree? These not so small details are so important in today’s business environment and should not be overlooked. Make room for the social hangouts, the lunches and the Christmas parties. Soon they will be back on schedule.
We wish you good luck with your project. If you need any help – don't hesitate to get in touch!