New ways of working have been talked about for years, but due to the pandemic’s global impact, the conversation has only been expedited. Companies have been forced to rethink how they will define their best ways of working and what suits their employees. One sentiment does hold true: the “normal” office life we once knew has been put to rest. But what everyone wonders now, is what could possibly replace it?
Employers have now been presented with an opportunity to reflect, not about the workspace of the future, but how they will decide to work in the future. What the last couple of months has taught us is that remote work is here to stay. In fact, tech giants Facebook and Twitter have already set this transition in motion.
Although this may have become the preferred new way of working compared to having to go into the office five days a week, many employees have stated that they miss the social interactions between their colleagues. To find the perfect balance between working from home and being able to stay connected with the company culture without having to sit through a million virtual meetings should be the ultimate goal.
We at BuzziSpace feel that now, more than ever, is the time for businesses to take a step back and recalibrate and think about “how can I reshape my current workspace and prepare it for the future?” It is of the utmost importance that you first decide as a company how your future way of working will look. In order to create a bespoke happy and healthy workspace, different factors will, of course, come into play, such as the market, business structure, the corporation’s ethos and aesthetics, as well as the personalities of its staff members and company culture.
It is also important to note that not every company is the same, and each will be looking to shape their future way of working and office differently. As employers begin to formulate what they need to create their ideal future workspace, businesses must also keep in mind that it is imperative to create a space that matches their goals and is in line with how they see their way of working down the line.
However, the future of professional life cannot be defined in one simple be-all and end-all solution and there is not one ideal workspace of the future. At BuzziSpace, we have identified how we can cater to this hybrid way of working. Below are four shifts that we will start to see in the workplace as we eventually move into a post-COVID world, and how to cater to them.
There are two major trends to consider when reshaping your current office, the first one being able to adapt to the current social distancing protocols to ensure employees have peace of mind when coming in to work. To ensure your office remains a happy and healthy place in which to return, incorporate flexible, efficient, and sustainable solutions to create new break-out zones and work areas that can easily be adjusted and expanded when your full workforce comes back.
Co-workers meeting and collaborating is key for the open-plan office, so turning pre-existing meeting rooms into separate workstations and introducing informal meeting spaces will help to add a bit of zest and keep team morale high.
The second trend to keep in mind is that a percentage of the workforce will continue to work from home, which provides an opportunity to introduce hot desking. This will open up a lot more space in the office to play around with exciting and bold design elements, or even think about renting out some of your unused space to a smaller business.
Instead of using intrusive ways to form boundaries within the workspace, it is important to create luscious microenvironments with biophilic design elements. Adding biophilic designs into the office has been scientifically proven to add significant benefits to our health and well-being, on top of seeing an increase in productivity, cognitive ability, creativity, and concentration.
Creating a trophy office could be the next logical step in how you want your company to function in the future. For companies with the majority of their workforce working remotely, the trophy office should be a place where your employees want to reconnect with one another or hold client meetings, as well as being a space to find inspiration.
There are no boundaries when it comes to conceptualizing your ideal trophy office; it can be as simple as a spot to reconnect and work for a few hours at a time, or it can include entertainment facilities. The trophy office is a place that encourages engagement and collaboration and acts as a destination your employees crave to go to so they can reconnect with who you are as a corporation. It is a place in which you look forward to going; what it should not be is a stiff environment.
There is plenty of room to think outside the box when designing your trophy office. Get inspired by a museum exhibition and rotate fun, colorful furniture every six months to a year.
For companies that may not want to renew their lease or give up on having one large headquarters, flux hubs and co-working spaces maintain all the aspects of your company culture with the added benefit of retaining staff and attracting new talent. Flex hubs can also be combined with a trophy office to cater to your remote workers.
Creating multiple smaller flex hubs and co-working spaces located around the city and in the suburbs closer to your employees will cut down the commuting time. Flex hubs and satellite offices will also make it easier to gather and interact with colleagues in the same location, as well as improve work-life balance. Although space may be smaller, you can keep your company ethos intact by adding appropriate solutions that remain true to your aesthetics and brand.
Residential apartments and clubhouses can also incorporate a space for shared work to take place. This will allow for those working from home to surround themselves with other professionals to create a work-focused environment free from distractions that living with family or flatmates can cause.
For those who have enough space and can create a private office at home, do not underestimate the power of adequate lighting and creating barriers between your work area and living space. This will help you to differentiate between your work and personal life.
Allowing your employees to work remotely while combining it with any of the above options will help you in creating your perfect working environment. So how will your company be defining its future way of working?
This article was originally published for DesignWanted's Workspace Week.
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