31 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in the US already and more than 12 million Americans have been vaccinated, giving us hope that we will soon be able to safely return to the workplace. But what will the workplace look like in a post-pandemic world? According to experts, workplaces will need to implement new safety precautions including altering their floor plans or upgrading their air filtration systems.
Beyond the changes to the physical space due to new safety measures, workplaces will need to adjust to the new hybrid workforce. Many employees will choose to work remotely part time or full time if given the option, now that they know that they have the tools to succeed when working from home.
Here’s how to make adjustments to your workplace to adapt to the post-pandemic hybrid employee expectations and make all team members feel included, no matter where they work from.
Most people agree that in a post-Covid world, open layout floor plans with communal setups are no longer the safest option for offices. We’re seeing that shared spaces in restaurants are being separated by plexiglass, so in an office that would mean turning it back into cubicles...right? Not necessarily.
Thankfully, there are some modern, flexible workspace design strategies that won’t sacrifice collaboration or design. Flexible workplaces focus on multifunctional spaces not dedicated to an individual employee. They can easily be socially distanced or have clear plexiglass to maintain a sense of collaboration. They provide a desk or space to set up and work for a day or shift, then clean the area and leave it for a coworker to use. These offices typically have different types of rooms as well like huddle rooms, conference rooms, and smaller individual rooms or booths for private conversations.
Source: HMC Architects
Source: Uplift Desk
Hotdesks are workspaces for any employee to use, and with this concept, you don’t need to provide a dedicated space for every employee. By providing additional collaborative areas, phone booths, pods, and huddle rooms, you can save money on individual work areas. When a portion of your workforce will be working remotely at any given time, you won’t run the risk of not having enough space.
If your company has multiple locations and employees may want to collaborate regularly from one location to another, set up live streaming stations. This can be helpful in conference rooms for employee trainings or sessions that need to be streamed to other locations or satellite offices. Live streaming cameras between offices or from one location to many can be a great way to connect team members without the hassle. Use plug-and-play technology so your teams can focus on communicating and collaborating.
Without private offices, employees may need a space to take personal calls, private work conversations like one-on-ones or performance reviews, or a quiet place to concentrate on a complex task. Companies like ROOM offer soundproof phone booths and other meeting room options. Steelcase also has portable pods for offices and have their own phone booth style Snap Cab Pods.
When employees are limiting their time in the office, they’ll want to be efficient with their time. Set up dedicated video conferencing rooms and collaborative workspaces where they can easily connect a laptop and connect with employees who are working remotely or anywhere. Here’s our guide to setting up a Zoom Video Conferencing Room.
Now that the entire world has learned to work remotely, company data and projects for most businesses is now stored in the cloud. Desktops being the sole location for files and documents is a thing of the past. With flexible workstations, flexible schedules, and the ability to work from anywhere, today’s employees expect the freedom to work when and where they feel the most productive.
Think about offering rental equipment that your employees can use when they are in the office so they don’t need to commute with their tech. You can either purchase technology and have your IT department rent it out to them, or rent the tech equipment and offer it to your employees on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis depending on your workforce.
Many of the adjustments coming will be in the way we think about work. The ideas of a traditional schedule, traditional office, or traditional employee are no longer the norm, giving teams a chance to rewrite the way they function. So, you’ve all always hated your weekly standup and you’d rather do a one sentence Slack update every morning? Pitch it to your team! You want a day of the week without meetings? Now is the time to ask. With the physical layout of the workplace changing, it’s the perfect opportunity to rethink the way that you foster productivity and collaboration.