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How COVID-19 Created A New Era of Workspace

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If quarantine has taught employees anything, it’s that most of them really like working from home. The abrupt closure of many businesses at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic created a new era of workspace. Thanks to being forced into remote work, technological adaptations, and a shift in corporate ideologies, the way that people work has changed. 

 

Of the companies that are slowly returning to work, many find that their old office accommodations no longer support their rhythm of business. Office spaces across the nation are at their highest tenant vacancy rates in decades. Notably, companies including Ford Motor, Target, Facebook, and many more are downsizing considerably. JP Morgan, for example, suggested that they “may only need 60 seats for every 100 employees”. 

What are the numbers? 

Some of the biggest employers wouldn’t make such drastic downsizes on a whim, would they? No, they wouldn’t. A recent survey suggests what landlords fear most: the need for excessive office space is primarily gone. In fact,

  • Over 54% of Americans value workspace flexibility – i.e., working from home, the office, and wherever.
  • Working remotely can increase employee productivity by up to 77%.
  • 25% of employees surveyed stated that they value a flexible workspace yet do not have access to one.

Makings of the modern workspace 

 

Does your office space have the facilities to support the expectations of its employees returning to work? The number of companies that are already adapting to new-age workspace expectations is rising quickly. Organizations that delay or neglect to adapt may risk losing talent to more flexible and otherwise encouraging competitors.  

Technology 

 

Technology companies rose to the occasion to support the myriad of employees who began working remotely during quarantine. Most notably, the video calling/ instant messaging and cloud-based systems have largely enabled a flexible workspace. 

 

To best support your employees and ensure your organization’s connectivity, your office space should make sure that it has the technology to do so. Wireless charging stations, laptops, cloud-based data storing and sharing systems, and web cameras, are the essential tip of the iceberg when it comes to outfitting your modern workspace properly. 

Location

 

Is your current office accessible via public transportation? Do most of your employees live in location A while your office is in location C? 

 

The organization’s physical office needs to support your employees and company values. If your current office space doesn’t empower your employees, it may be time to consider new locations. 

 

As organizations return to the office and consider downsizing office space, many business owners are adopting a hub-and-spoke model. Essentially, this model provides a central, typically corporate, headquarters with any number of smaller satellite offices in strategic areas (typically placed in suburbs or other locations closer to employees) and can be ideal for creating a sense of community among a scattered workforce.

Office layout

The workspace of 2021 is diverse. It is a flexible and accommodating space that enables high levels of productivity. A thriving workspace requires focus areas, communal areas, open work areas, and a dynamic floor plan.

Essentially, the post-COVID-19 workspace should create an equitable experience for all employees. Similarly significant are opportunities for privacy. Successful office spaces strike a productive balance between communal and private areas to maximize your space’s utility for any project.

Relaxation and mental health

Company management needs to understand the health impacts of the average American employee spending 35 hours per week in the office. In addition, the discussion of mental health has grown insurmountably in recent years. Finally, organizations are now expected to offer conditions and opportunities to support the health of their employees.

Successful workspaces don’t have harsh florescent lights, dark conference rooms, or otherwise dreary spaces anymore. Instead, modern offices need to be a representation of the companies values and culture. Allowing lots of natural light and indoor greenery is a great place to start.

Resimercial design brings home design influence to the office and is a simple way to make the workspace more comfortable and relaxing. This design style can include adding couches, lamps, and “home-y” chairs to the office and has significantly positive effects on productivity and morale. However you decide to switch up your office space, the layout should include a space for employees to unwind.

How do I know if my office isn’t working?

To recap, the workspace that many organizations knew pre-COVID-19 is long gone. Abiding by CDC recommendations, creating an equitable work environment, and ensuring your teams have flexible workspace opportunities are not just trends – they’re necessities.

Here are some signs that your office needs to adapt (pro tip: give us a call if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms);

  • The office space no longer empowers your business.
  • You’re having trouble attracting or retaining talent due to inflexibility.
  • Your current area doesn’t support hybrid workspace opportunities or create a healthy mental environment.

Takeaways

The 2021 workspace is determined by employees. The availability and prevalence of working remotely throughout quarantine created an expectation for organizations to enable workspace flexibility for employees. Furthermore, statistics and data suggest that there are many advantages to meeting the expectations of employees.

Whether your business is in dire need of an upgrade or you’re researching how to avoid the struggles listed above proactively, DESIGN+BUILD is here to help.

Unsure if your office space is negatively affecting your business? Contact our team of workspace design experts today!