With the start of the pandemic in early 2020, it seemed that working from home is the new normal. However, with the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines sooner than later, it seems that returning back to office will be a reality by the end of 2021. Creating an office environment that makes the employees feel safe and protected on their return will be the responsibility of the employer. Hence reviewing and creating a stylish office layout with increased safety protocols during this transitional period is of paramount importance for the wellbeing of your employees while increasing employee satisfaction and productivity. In reviewing your work space, primary focus should be given towards their safety.
Key factors to consider when creating a safe environment during this period is space between individuals, sanitation, design and ventilation to keep away from any health risks. We dive into how best we can incorporate these into our workplace.
To reduce the risk of contamination and to keep the office safe and clean, increasing the number of sinks outside of restrooms and introduction of sanitation stations around key spaces around the office such as at the entrance, boardrooms and breakrooms would be one of the key trends.
Whilst there was a pre-covid trend of moving towards more open floor seating plans in offices, with the need for social distancing and Individual workspaces we see there’s a re-emergence of cubicles in in today’s modern offices.
Open Floor Plans
Although the office may operate with limited capacity, and with the concern of covid lingering on everyone’s mind it is best to create an office environment with an open floor singular use workspaces instead of communal workspaces. In creating an open floor plan we also need to keep in mind that the workspaces are spaced out allowing easy movement without having them too close.
With employees spending most of their time indoors for the past one and half years, creating spaces for social interaction would be a requirement whether it is for work or personal reasons. In addition, this would also compensate for leisure activities which in turn increase employee engagement. These spaces will need to be designed in a brightly lit manner and spread-out. They also need to be designed in a way that is easy to clean and sanitise daily. Using of leather or vinyl are options when designing as they can be wiped and cleaned easily.
Rather than having larger boardrooms, having smaller boardrooms will be the trend going forward with many employees still opting to work from home and fewer guests visiting the office. With the technological advancements, more of virtually interacting with clients and remote based employees will be seen. Hence, having a smaller space for virtually connecting would be something most companies will be adapting to.
Having an office space with easily movable, lightweight furniture is essential for a flexible workspace. From movable walls to chairs with wheels and desks which can be taken apart easily you can convert a conference room into a social lounge or a semi-private space in minutes!
Sustainability is becoming a priority in many organisations. While many sustainable activities are carried out by them, companies are also looking into creating eco-friendly, sustainable office environments. From recycling to upcycled furniture and opting for materials that do not emit harmful odours or chemicals such as wood, stone, wool, etc. In addition to furniture these can also incorporated through bamboo floors, brining elements of nature through living plant walls and desk succulents.