This unpredictable year has reshaped how, when and where we work. Many of old office norms now feel obsolete, leaving businesses asking how they can best use their existing workspace. How can they adapt to satisfy a modified workforce with social distancing measures?
After months of working from home, heading back to the office can be a welcome retreat for employees. Consider these ideas for a productive return to the workplace:
• Recharge your company culture with a new commitment to safety and sustainability.
• Inspire your team with redesigned spaces for both collaborative and individual work.
• Provide topnotch technology and video connection for remote workers.
• Utilize partitions for fast and flexible areas that promote both privacy and synergy.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Convert large rooms into separate spaces for specific activities. Think Zoom nooks, quiet pods and phone booths… all furnished with intuitive technology. Due to COVID-19, people are cautious about returning to work in open, shared environments. Constructing walls—solid or mobile—in existing space can help employees feel safe.
Implement hoteling or hot-desking for changeable work areas versus permanent workstations. This means employees can sit anywhere in the office that accommodates their needs. Non-assigned and shared seating can be a space saver when employees alternate days between office and remote work. Your team members can store personal items, laptops, cell phones and office supplies in private lockers when not in use. Workstations are sanitized after each use—clean and ready for the next shift.
Another new trend: Establish office neighborhoods for different departments—each with their own collaborative space, printers, copiers and team lockers. Incorporating natural light and resimercial design elements into these communities can enhance job satisfaction. Neighborhoods allow employees to communicate more effectively and work together while still social distancing.
Be creative and economical with extra office space. More people working remotely may equal less staff in the office, but the space they need to be effective may increase. Evaluate how many square feet are necessary for collaborative areas and for each employee (at least six feet by six feet for every workstation).
It’s also wise to analyze your downsizing options. Consider these options: Remodel space and sublease unused areas to another business; lease back excess space to your landlord; or move into a smaller redesigned office.
If you are ready to resize, downsize, upsize or modernize your workplace, Casco’s Design + Build Team is here to help.