ADL Interior Dishes Out Noteworthy Post-Pandemic Office Design Tips

Jul 12

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While physical headquarters have always played a key role in establishing and building organizational culture, this idea has never been more valid. The pandemic completely shifted what employees value and prioritize, which means pre-pandemic office design norms aren’t quite up to snuff anymore. But don’t panic! With the proper knowledge and resources, you can prepare a space that maximizes safety, productivity, and collaboration when workers return.

In today’s blog post, we share some practical tips you can start with, no matter your time availability or budget. Our recent talk with Jacqueline Palmer Norrise, Principal and Founder at ADL Interiors, inspired this piece; if you want to hear the complete discussion, click here

So What’s All the Fuss, Anyway? 

Before we get any further, let’s quickly address why this matters so much in the first place. Think of your office space as an extension of your brand identity! It communicates what your company is all about to those inside and outside of your organization. A well-designed space can say many things all at once: that you care about your employees’ safety and well-being, prioritize sustainability and want to inspire creativity and community. 

Committing the necessary upfront investment into your workspace’s look, feel, and function will make it much easier to communicate corporate values and help your team thrive.

It’s important to create a workspace that employees are excited to get back to in the morning, and one that continues to prioritize socialization and well-being whether remote or in person.

– Quote from Jacqueline Palmer Norrise on Thriver Podcast Ep.15

3 Office Design Tips to Cover the Basics

Even if the plan is to DIY the entire office design process, keeping these three elements in mind will get you off to a good start:

Health & Safety

Many workers are hesitant to return to the office, largely due to safety concerns. 68% of Canadian workers surveyed by KPMG cited the fear of a colleague coming to work sick and passing on the coronavirus as one of their top three post-pandemic worries. Companies can address many of these fears through office design. While an abundant supply of hand sanitizers and Lysol wipes certainly helps, it’s also important to consider what your furniture and fixtures are made of.  For example, some materials will do a much better job of repelling bacteria than others!

But it’s not just about guarding against the virus. Where possible, a healthy work environment should also incorporate toxin-free materials that promote wellness and sustainability and ergonomic features that keep people fit and pain-free.

Community 

One aspect many employees miss about being in the office is the feeling of community and belonging. For example, 73% of U.S. workers miss socializing with colleagues in a traditional workplace setting. As you revisit your workplace design, think about creating that sense of togetherness while also maintaining the necessary social distancing measures. This can look like knocking down walls for more expansive spaces or repurposing common areas for more creative social interaction.

Flexibility

It’s no secret that a decent chunk of the workforce prefers both in-office and work-from-home options. But when it comes down to it, what your employees really value is flexibility. Therefore, try to give them various choices about where they can work in the office, whether at a different desk every day, another floor, the kitchen, or outside.

Reimagining Workspaces for Remote Employees

It’s easier to comprehend office design changes for physical locations, but how do you make your remote employees feel included? The goal is to help them create an at-home atmosphere that connects them to their team. You can do this with:

Zoom Backgrounds & Company Merch

A simple Zoom background with organizational branding can elevate an isolated workspace and remind employees where they belong. Personalized company merch such as mugs, water bottles, notebooks, headphones, and other items will also add a nice, thoughtful touch.

Office Equipment

Allocate a budget to help employees get the tools and equipment they need for their home locations. You can also install a “Borrow A Desk” program that allows them to grab furniture and other items they need from the office and use them at home. Apart from a delivery expense, this option is cost-free and effectively simulates an in-office experience.

Ergonomics

Incorporate tools and adjustments to support your employees’ health, comfort and productivity. This includes chairs that provide heavy-duty back support, desks with standing and sitting options, lighting that doesn’t strain eyesight, and computer equipment that helps maintain correct arm posture.

Ergonomics sounds very intimidating, but it’s quite simple! It’s the study of people’s efficiency and their working environment to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury.

– Quote from Jacqueline Palmer Norrise on Thriver Podcast Ep.15

Got A Tight Budget?

While all the above sounds expensive, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Try these tips for a more financially feasibly process:

  • Prepare a survey and get everyone’s input so you can decide on the most important factors to prioritize while making employees feel heard, valued and respected
  • Consult with a design professional a few hours a week instead of going full-service
  • Provide stipends to help employees purchase what they need in their homes
  • Install homely comforts like plants, natural lighting, and lounging spaces
  • Find desks and other furniture items on casters for easy relocation
  • Use outdoor spaces as much as possible, such as parks and garage spaces

And above all, get creative with what you already have. Don’t let a tight budget put you off!

The Benefits of Working With a Professional Designer

That said, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to reworking an office space, so we highly recommend working with a full-service design professional if you’re able. Doing so might seem like a luxury, but it’s more than just having a chic-looking work environment. There are plenty of practical benefits, including: 

  • Working with someone aware of shifting design trends and modern workspace solutions
  • Designing an office space that effectively brings people together while also keeping them safely apart
  • Removing the stress from a staff person who would need to manage design responsibilities on top of their regular duties
  • Ensuring that you achieve long-term results rather than short-term fixes
  • Accessing exclusive vendors who specialize in quality, sustainability and function (and provide extended warranties in case something breaks or needs replacing)

So much of my job as a designer is asking questions that you may not have thought of or probably don’t know the answer to, then working together to research, answer those questions and come up with solutions. It’s quite an extensive process, so it’s important to have someone to help move that along quickly and successfully!

Quote from Jacqueline Palmer Norrise on Thriver Podcast Ep.15

While it might be a steep upfront investment, good design is like filing your taxes; you want to get it right the first time, so you don’t have to pay the price later on!

Introducing ADL Interiors & Other Resources

If you’re interested in working with top-notch professionals, ADL Interiors is a full-service design consultant that perfectly merges functionality with warmth, inspiration and connectivity. They’ve bought three exquisite services to the Thriver platform, all of which we highly recommend to achieve total design performance and satisfaction:  home office, in-house office, and Zoom backdrop design. Visit here to explore their features, learn more about the investment costs, and start a conversation with the provider.

You can also check out our entire office space category for workshops, consulting services, and other resources to gather more ideas and inspiration! 

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