“As a manager of a technology team, I never supported the notion of working remotely.”
That, according to Richard Casamento, former global program manager for the Intel Corporation. “I assumed people were about half as productive when they weren’t here.”
Mr. Casamento isn’t alone in his sentiments. Prior to COVID, it was a challenge to get senior managers to embrace the idea that employees could be as, or more productive from home.
But as COVID has taught us, workplaces are constantly evolving spaces. Their design and build is influenced by the changing needs of businesses, productivity trends and yes, occasionally far reaching pandemic type events from the outside world. In 2021, Successful office designs will reflect the new awareness in the industry, that virtual work is possible and can be managed effectively. Every company will agonize over the balance between remote employee productivity, the desire to save money on office space, and the intangible lifestyle, creativity and productivity improvements that are possible when people are interacting face to face in a positive environment.
In the rethink of company environments post 2020, the focus must become the creation of productivity powerhouses rather than just a space to rest your computer. So, how will office design change in a post-COVID world? What will these spaces look like and how will they be used? Here are some insights into the different trends shaping the design and implementation of the post-COVID office from the experts at BE Builds.
Why We Still Need Offices
For many employees, working remotely from home comes with it’s own, significant challenges. There’s no space for a proper workstation or desk, there’s less time and energy to focus on work because the hustle and bustle of family life is going on around you (especially if you have kids!), and chores can become a troublesome distraction from work tasks. Ironically, working from home can make it even more difficult to create that all-important work-life balance that we’re all after, as there is no escape from your environment, no change of scenery, and more limited interaction with coworkers. Studies have shown that prolonged working from home is directly linked to depression in many people1
Even the most advanced teaming technology we have is simply not powerful enough to substitute for physical, face-to-face interaction. That’s where the magic happens – it’s the catalyst for innovation, creativity and engaged problem-solving. It’s how real relationships between employees are built and how people go from being coworkers to genuine friends. And of course it remains the place where company resources and equipment are most easily available. For most industries, the company workplace needs to remain the primary focus of efforts to enhance employee productivity.
But we should not unlearn what COVID-19 has taught us. Our approach to office design and construction has to change, balancing the need for the energy and innovation of a shared space with the need for effective hygiene protocols and a more flexible working environment.
What to Consider When Choosing or Designing a Post-COVID Office Space
- Design flexibility – Due to the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, office design needs to be safe, but flexible too. Businesses want a space they can use for collaborative meetings and other essentials that can’t be achieved successfully while working remotely without safety concerns. The space needs to be able to reflect this, offering the ability to easily switch around furniture and structures to create workspaces that are socially distant and hygienic, or to create collaborative spaces that are fun and conducive to worker discussion.
- Custom solutions for your sector – The team at BE sees many different types of industries trying to reinvent their spaces for the new normal but priorities are highly dependent on what kind of business you’re in. Large healthcare clients are focused on changes to the layout and construction of their furniture. Copper clad materials, hygienic surfaces and of course barriers are changing the requirements for new build-outs. Others are adopting more subtle changes in layout and design that incorporate best practices for workplace efficiency and safety. BE partners closely with every company to balance their goals carefully while helping them choose from almost infinite options for exciting design within their budget.
- Hygiene and safety – Regardless of whether your business is a traditional office space, a warehouse, a law firm, a clinic or anything else, the health and wellness of staff while on-site is critical. This should be supported in every phase of your office design, from selecting the right size office to ensuring peak wellness can be achieved by installing acrylic barriers on workstations, air purification systems, body temperature scanners and more.
Looking for Office Construction Services in NJ? Let’s Get to Work
Redesigning your office space for a post-COVID world is complex, but can be rewarding and cost effective when you have a good partner. At BE Builds, we’re dedicated to delivering exceptional office fit-outs on time and on budget. Whatever your office design challenges are, we’ll handle it all. Visit us at https://bebuilds.com/ for more information.