The global pandemic has influenced most of us to switch from going to the regular office to working from home. Of course, working from home came with a few valuable benefits such as eliminating the whole aspect of commuting to offices, giving a break to wearing formal work clothes, and being in comfortable cozy clothes. Above all, working from home allowed us to be closer to our loved ones a lot more than how it was before. These benefits impact increasing employee productivity. However, we eventually started missing the daily interactions among co-workers and other workplace socializing engagements.
As the vaccines are being distributed and social distancing is being relaxed, the next should be for employers to consider opening up workplaces again for employees to enter. It is quite obvious that the office atmosphere would not be the same as it used to be. Employers need to adapt to new work strategies and models when they are planning the opening up. Let’s discuss a few valuable points that are worth considering when reshaping the post-pandemic offices.
THE BRAND NEW RESIDENTIAL FEELING
Employees all around the world have been working from home for almost two years since the lockdowns began and undoubtedly they have gotten used to it by now. And obviously, employees prefer the feeling of home-like ambiance at workplaces to a certain level compared to the old setting of workplaces. Quite a lot of employers have taken this into account and started redesigning the workplace setups with residential-style furniture instead of the regular office-type furniture that is being used normally.
RISE OF THE COLLABORATIVE WORKSPACE CONCEPT
Most of the companies have allowed their employees to work from home adapting to a hybrid model where only a certain number of employees will be coming to office. As a result of this, the normal office spaces have been transformed into collaborating spaces or meeting spaces where employees often visit the office in small groups to collaborate or have meetings. It has become a common trend to have workspaces built in an adjustable way where employees can move things around based on their requirements.
TECHNOLOGY IS VITAL MORE THAN EVER
The global pandemic has forced the world to go virtual by adopting new technologies. Since almost all meetings we have nowadays are virtual, employers invest largely in building up well-equipped conference rooms with larger screens, cameras, and microphones with better resolution. Likewise, another area that has gained focus is in reducing touch points in workplaces by adopting touchless technology solutions with sensor functionalities. Moreover, technological enhancements are recommended for air filtration systems to mitigate the spreading of coronavirus inside office premises.
LATEST WORKPLACE MODELS
As discussed earlier, companies are adopting various new workplace models as they start to bring in employees to offices again. A few of the latest workplace models recommended by workplace strategists are as follows:
The regular setup: There will be no major changes to routines and headcounts that are taken into the workplace. The main focus will be to have improvements in disinfecting regularly and keeping everything fully hygienic as recommended in the health guidelines.
The clubhouse: A clubhouse is identified as a hybrid model where most of the work is conducted on a work from home basis and small groups of employees gather at the office whenever they need to do collaborative work or to have a face-to-face meeting with a bit of socializing.
Activity-based setting: This is an ideal option for offices that bring in a limited number of employees at a time. There are no desks or workstations that are fully assigned for employees as most of the time the employees that are in will be collaborating in multiple workspaces switching from meeting to meeting.
WHICH MODEL WOULD BE THE BEST FIT FOR YOU
Each model that was discussed earlier serves different purposes. Therefore, both the employers and employees must decide and come to a conclusion on what model they should try. The regular setup would be a good way to start as most of us will be missing our office colleagues, but it will not work if the company is unable to bring all employees at once. Likewise, the activity-based setup will be able to save up a lot of office space but it will require a certain level of cultural transformation. However, the hybrid model or the clubhouse model is one of the most preferred options among both employers and employees as it allows a lot of flexibility to both parties.
A FEW MORE CONSIDERABLE POINTS
Employers need to consider a couple of other points when they open up workplaces for employees. These are mainly involved with transforming workspaces in communal spaces by maintaining social distancing in every way possible. Listed below are a few points worth considering when reopening workspaces.
Mandatory break-out zones: It will be mandatory to have a break-out space for employees to easily access whenever they need time off from work.
Optimize traffic flows: Companies should focus on taking all possible measures to minimize queues and comply with social distancing requirements.
Enhanced ventilation systems: Fresh air to breathe will be a mandatory need. Ventilation systems should be properly overhauled using recommended covid-19 prevention techniques and guidelines to ensure the air inside the premises is hygienic and safe.
Reducing touchpoints: Adopt hands-free and sensor-based technologies for entrances and water outlets to reduce touchpoints inside office premises. Encouraging employees to use their own belongings rather than using shared cups, plates, and other consumable materials.
Certainly, companies will not be able to stick to a single workplace model that would suit all instances. Employers should take time to focus on their key requirements, analyze available workplace models, and continuously run trials to find out what would be the ideal workplace model that suits them. It is quite understandable that exploring and experimenting are the approaches leaders should take to reinvent the future of work.