The Future of the Workspace

10 November 2020

As we head into another lock down and finding ourselves being instructed to work from home, it’s no surprise to find that feelings of frustration and concern and the consistent  wondering, “when this will all end and when will things return to ‘normal?’’’ are prevalent among many of us.

 With that in mind, what will this new ‘normal’ in a post-pandemic world, particularly in the workplace look like? With an abundance of articles, insightful posts and information from our industry leaders, we’ve identified a number of key factors, the biggest being, the workplace environment will need to consider employee well-being and versatility in order to be successful in a post pandemic world.   

As Workplace designers we have always encouraged our clients to consider these principles, but with respect to a safer and productive workplace of the future, it now goes without saying these ‘considerations’ are now the founding principles for the development of a workplace.  

The workplace will no longer be described as an ‘office’ but rather as a hybrid environment made up of a variety of ‘work spaces’, created to give employees the ability to choose a setting that is suited to the task at hand.

So how do you create a working environment for the new normal? We undertook our own working from home analysis and asked our colleagues what they enjoyed about WFH and what they missed about working in the office.  Almost all, enjoyed the ability to have non distracted focus time but missed the day to day interactions with their colleagues and felt at times isolated.

Human connection is still critical for building high-performing teams and loneliness can be detrimental to motivation and productivity. Therefore, a balance is required and this is when the ‘work space’ comes into play.

If you were able to provide your employees with a community-building hub that provided collaboration spaces, social areas and meeting spaces filled with the latest technology along with some quiet areas and focus spaces (for those WFH with small children), then you’re onto a winning combination.  

So how do we then encourage our people to use this new creative and collaborative space after working for so long within the comforts, conveniences and safety of home?  We can introduce some simple key design elements and incentives that can install excitement and confidence back into the company culture;

The use of Biophilia (meaning love of nature) within a design can create comfort and calm along with the added benefit of purified air.

Provide great coffee! Giving your employees quality facilities within a beautiful setting will always display value and respect.

Introduce flexible working hours to enable employees to balance work and life. It will also encourage them to continue routines they may have established at home, like a morning run or afternoon walk. Exercise is imperative to health and well-being and keeping active has proven results to improve productivity and positivity. You may even consider a corporate local gym membership or better yet an exercise facility within the work space.

Technology, incorporating state-of-the-art and smartly designed areas to accommodate the diverse tasks within your organisation. 

All these elements tied in with essential communication of company protocols and safety measures ultimately allows your employees the freedom of choice and facilitating those choices will help towards a successful place of work, fit for a post-pandemic future. 

Want to know more about how we can help? Give us a call. 

Also, watch out for our future blogs on Designing for Neurodiversity, an insight into the cost of a ‘work space’ fit-out, how to reflect company values and culture into an interior environment and many more.

 Written by Sarah Payne – Head of Design  

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