With employees increasingly keen to return to work, companies are looking at how they can adapt to meet their staff’s wants and needs. The lingering question is: how do you create an appropriate post COVID office space?
Linda Trim, Director at Giant Leap, a workplace design specialist, explained to iAfrica that the most important thing is to modify an office as a place for culture, connection and community-building while also allowing for flexibility.
“When we design for connection and communication, then people’s individual experiences in the workplace becomes the most important measure of success,” she said. A survey by the outlet found that the following strategies could help shape the future of a post COVID office:
A Mostly-Open Office
Of those surveyed, 71% of workers admitted they wanted to return to an office that was mostly open. Ideally, staff would work in open environments with on-demand privacy such as phone rooms.
Trim explained that, according to the survey’s findings, most people’s preferences leaned towards having an assigned desk. Only 17% of respondents were willing to share. “This is perhaps unsurprising given the current health crisis — but when you offer the opportunity to work in a more hybrid way, just over half of workers (51%) would be willing to trade their assigned desk for greater flexibility to choose when and where they work, “ she noted.
Video-Conference Enabled Work Spaces.
Ideally, a post COVID office would be equipped to handle video conferences, which allows for distributed teams to connect. “There will be a need to overhaul the protocols and etiquette around how we use these spaces. With video conferencing potentially occurring not just in meeting rooms, but in semi-enclosed and open spaces as well, the office may feel buzzier than before,” Trim said.
With more staff working remotely, there is less of a need for on-site employees, which is why companies may need to shift the balance of spaces to meet worker’s needs. This means freeing up space by allocating fewer workstations and instead including collaborative spaces. “Our survey found space to focus on independent focus work is still the number 3 reason workers want to come into the office,” Trim noted. “To support equity for employees, some spaces for individual focus work should be included in offices going forward.”
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