Office design has had to work with what is going on in the world rather than what new trends should take their place next. A new revolution of office working has been put into play, testing businesses to adapt to the new normal and enhancing our ways of how our day to day works.
The trends for 2021 are absolutely no different, we are seeing businesses either expanding their office spaces to allow for safe working or downsizing completely and allowing employees to embrace flexible working. Each coming with obstacles of their own and being seen as less of a trend, more of a matter of fact. The workspace of the future is set to be the most exciting and unique trend yet.
Whether a company has taken on home working as the new normal and have added this into their new business plan, or it’s looking to adapt the office to meet the required standards, what should be expected for the workspace of the future?
The appeal and sparkle of home working has worn off for many. As it stands, the future of social office working is still somewhat of an unknown and unfortunately for many business owners and their employees, the uncertainty of work placements remains ever present. There may be a hopeful solution to come however, bringing in rotational systems for staff to come into the office could be accepted, allowing social distancing to easily be adapted, without having to increase your office space.
With flexible working likely to be a necessity still for many, it’s key to know that your employees are being looked after at home with suitable workspaces. Temporarily, these makeshift spaces may have been adequate, however, if flexible working is the future of business, this must be updated and personally suited to each individual.
Looking into each home office to ask, what chair do they have? Is it suitable for long periods or will there be detrimental risks to your employees’ health? What equipment is readily available to them, for example, phones, work laptops or even the desk they are using?
It is important that your employees are well attended to during these periods, and not only for their mental and physical health. It is also imperative to make sure that their motivation is maintained while working from home and that their more permanent home set up is distraction free ensuring a well equipped, motivated team wherever they may be based.
Showing that you have taken into consideration the effects of suitable workspaces and are willing to help your employees adapt to their home spaces is one way of keeping your staff’s productivity and morale high. Simple updates or changes such as supplying suitable chairs like an ergonomic chair to those that are in need of one is a great place to start.
With the possibility of employees returning to work in the coming months, a new workspace layout may be required to ensure safe working conditions in the future. Though this can sound like a daunting task after what has already been a year of blows for many businesses, it can be done with just a few simple changes:
A great solution for breaking up any space, storage walls are a less expensive option for creating a personal working area whilst utilising the space around you and adding in extra storage options. These can be used to safely distance each employee without having to add in permanent fixtures and when everything has settled down, they can easily be manoeuvred around the office to keep it fresh and current.
If you’re wanting something a little more luxurious, office pods are a great alternative to building permanent fixtures and rooms within the office. A modern take on office design, these clever pods are easy to assemble and can be used for many requirements. Available in different sizes, you can create private spaces for employees or private meeting rooms which will still allow for social distancing.
If you’re not wanting to dramatically change the look of your office, partitions are a great way to ensure safe working to shared desk spaces. Partially closing off each shared space with a partition is an easy way for employees to return to work without all the change around.
Break out spaces
Finally, it’s important now more than ever to keep up morale within the office and although there may be an instinctive buzz on the return, it’s key to keep this up. We are, as humans, inherently social beings, craving communication and laughter. If these are closed off to us it can have a real negative impact on our mental health. Therefore, if you’re lucky enough to have the capacity for a breakout space, it would be a worthy investment. Create a large kitchen area for your fellow employees to mingle and chat, this space can still be distanced but it allows people to take a break from their work for lunchtime periods and do something that they may not have been able to do for nearly a year – socialise!
Break out spaces are also a great way to show your companies culture to old and new employees, which has become incredibly important for the younger generations to see and understand exactly what they’re stepping into.
Although it is a priority to keep social distancing in place for likely months to come, with all the above taken into consideration it can still be done and it doesn’t need to have a huge change on your office design or your office furniture. The above points are practical and will be on-trend for likely years to come.
Employee wellbeing has never been more vital to a business, nor has it been one of the top priorities when re-designing an office space. It is office design like we’ve never known it, it’s time to embrace the change and move with for the workspace of the future, and the benefits that could reap from this new wave could be eye-opening for many.