After many moons of managing scattered teams, exciting times are ahead for businesses preparing to reopen their doors once again! There’s a lot to plan and consider, and chief among them is something that has the power to completely enhance your team dynamic: your office space. With the right strategy, you can create a workspace that keeps people safe, engaged, and productive.
While it may be a challenge, rest assured that we’ve got your back. In the following sections, we’ll go over some simple guidelines to follow and share our best resources to provide the support you need throughout the process.
The Traditional Versus Forward-Looking Approach to the Office Space
Despite many rumours circulating in the business world, there’s plenty to suggest that the office isn’t dead. So there’s no need to burn your building leases or shy away from investing in physical work locations just yet! However, old office layouts and functions aren’t nearly as effective anymore and may fade away entirely in the post-pandemic world. The reason is simple: work and people’s attitude towards it have drastically shifted.
Once upon a time, traditional offices mostly emphasized maximum efficiency and getting the job done. Today, hybrid work models require spaces that seamlessly integrate onsite and remote employees, facilitate collaboration, and accommodate different work duties, styles, and personalities. Therefore, modern offices must capture some key characteristics:
- Employee physical and mental wellness and safety
- Teamwork and togetherness
- Learning, productivity and creativity
- Centralized access to people and information
- Relationship management
Like everything else, a good office space revolves around one goal: establishing and sustaining a flourishing culture.
A Quick & Simple Guide to Upgrading Your Company Headquarters
Reimagining your space can be tricky, so here’s a quick guide to gather information and get things in motion:
Step One: Revisit your corporate messaging, tone & culture goals
In our article about returning to the office, we touched briefly on how leaders need to keep their ideal culture top of mind when re-evaluating their workspaces. Think about the tone and atmosphere you’re trying to create, and assess how your office’s current state adds to or detracts from that.
Note that chosen layout, amenities, and so on all provide subtle forms of communication. For example, do the design details in your building assure your staff that it’s okay to take breaks and chat sometimes during the day or unintentionally make them worry about looking unproductive?
Remember: your office layout often speaks louder than words!
Step Two: Go straight to the source
At this point, you probably already have some thoughts about what needs improving, but what does your team think, want, and need? Design focus groups, send out surveys and circulate suggestion boxes to get their feedback and ideas. After all, the most helpful input will come from the people who these intended changes will most impact!
Step Three: Leverage what you already have
One design hurdle many companies are encountering right now is cost, which is perfectly understandable. However, while this process can get expensive, consider that you don’t have to make all the desired changes at once. Start with the most important ones. For example, it doesn’t take an entire remodelling process to improve employee safety. Stocking up on the right supplies (masks, gloves, tissues, etc.), adding soap and sanitizer dispensers, moving desks further apart and so on are relatively easy yet highly effective measures.
The same goes for making adjustments that facilitate culture building. For example, let’s say your goal is to create a more easygoing, friendlier climate. Simple changes like setting up individual booths, changing an empty room into a yoga space, or preparing an outdoor area for sitting down and socializing (with social distancing measures in place) can make all the difference.
Step Four: Bridge gaps with the right technology
It’s pretty safe to say that hybrid work models aren’t going anywhere, so innovative, people-focused technology is the key to creating a healthy, sustainable blend of onsite and remote activities. It’s also essential for fully integrating everyone in your team, keeping them safe, and helping them produce their best work. Consider investing in:
- Productivity and collaboration tools
- Team building experiences
- Wellness apps and other health boosters
- Low-touch or no-touch amenities for safety
- Ergonomic furniture and equipment
Again, if you have a tight budget, take baby steps. Focus on the most impactful areas first, then work your way down the list.
Step Five: Collect feedback, evaluate and adjust
Right now, a lot changes by the day, so workspaces must be flexible and adaptable. Once you get your preliminary plan together, make the changes and monitor progress. The perfect office design doesn’t happen overnight, so keep gathering worker feedback and making adjustments.
New & Upcoming Office Space Resources to Fast-Track Your Workspace Transformation
If all that sounds daunting, you’re not alone!
You might have heard that we’ve been working on some new services to help employers safely and smoothly reintegrate everyone back into the office. The following resources will help demystify the office space and design process:
- Rethinking Your Office Space: sign up for a full-day session deep-diving into what to expect in the post-pandemic workplace and how to prepare
- Immersive Design Workshop: access a galore of unique office configuration and other ideas, as well as consulting services to develop a tailored design plan
- Home Office Design: revamp your at-home workspace in a way that ensures maximum productivity and caters to your personal style
- Full-Service Office Design: consult with expert commercial designers that will develop and execute a thorough, step-by-step strategy to create a safe, optimal office space for your clients and stakeholders
- Zoom Backdrop Design: enjoy greater confidence in front of the camera with the right set up in place, from lighting to furniture placement
Despite the many recent challenges, there’s at least one silver lining: the pandemic has created a chance to slow down, reevaluate and reinvent. Take this opportunity to identify and make the necessary improvements to your company operations in preparation for the good times ahead!