As pandemic restrictions gradually ease, companies are making adjustments to help employees transition back to the physical workplace. Employers buy new furniture, redesign meeting rooms, and hire electrical repair to install smart features in workstations.
While everything seems to be a welcomed change, many employees are still hesitant to return to the office. The good news is, employers can do something by redesigning the office to make workspaces more flexible and conducive. In this article, we’ll discuss ways on how to redesign the post-pandemic office for a more successful hybrid workplace.
Use a data-driven approach
Like other areas of remote work, employers can not rely on their gut filling to make critical decisions on redesigning the office space. Now more than ever, interviews, focus groups, and surveys play an essential role in understanding employees’ work styles and creating a comfortable environment with people’s well-being in mind.
Employers shouldn’t simply categorize workers as “in-office,” “hybrid,” or “remote.” They have to determine their personas to incorporate into the type of workspace they will design. In this case, employees should be categorized based on how much time they spend in a fixed location, independent work, and collaborative work. To cater to their needs, you need to devote dedicated workstations depending on the type of work they will carry out.
Understanding employees’ distribution of work styles is the best way to develop flexible workspace design techniques that will meet the changing needs of your staff.
Rethink the open workspace plan
Hybrid work urges employers to rethink open office plans. For many years, individual workspaces have become more open while meetings happen in closed conference rooms. But as employees return to the physical office, workspaces will start to shift. This means meetings will often take place in wide, open spaces with flexible boundaries, while individual work will occur in small pods or enclaves.
Open, collaborative areas are innately more flexible since they don’t come with fixed design features, so they easily change and morph as new working styles emerge. Co-creation, innovation, and problem-solving often involve agile approaches, such as quick meetings that require persistent and visible content that can be carried out in large, open spaces. Standard fixtures include easy-to-access technology, multifunctional furniture, and other flexible design elements.
Meanwhile, individual workstations will require more enclosure or boundaries to provide various levels of acoustic and visual privacy, which remote employees prefer when working from home. Since video meetings can happen anywhere, enclosures will give the people areas to concentrate and avoid disruptions.
In today’s corporate world, employees prefer flexibility in their workplace. As the employer, you can make adjustments to your real estate portfolio by adjusting the office size of the office and reconfiguring the workspace. You can conduct a survey to understand how employees will use the spaces to accommodate hybrid work and determine patterns and trends to enhance workspaces to support employees and their changing needs.
The modern hybrid office requires flexible spaces for various work activities. People are attending face-to-face and Zoom calls at the same time. This means you have to create an organized booking system to help employees determine the availability of every workspace, including other facilities and equipment.
Flexibility will also be a critical factor in managing office resources, such as digital technology. So far, we’ve witnessed incredible developments in virtual conferences, VR technology, and remote meetings. If you’re keen to improve the hybrid workplace experience, you may want to raise your budget for digital collaboration tools. Modern technology comes with special features to automate tasks and make employees more productive, whether at work or in the office.
Make mental health your priority
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on everyone’s mental health. As a result, organizations focus on employees’ health and well-being, while employees expect employers to prioritize their mental health.
Today, organizations are taking steps to shift their focus in designing workplace mental health programs. Forward-thinking companies incorporate mini spas, green spaces, therapy rooms, fitness areas, wellness zones, and other areas that promote mindfulness and encourage people to take regular breaks.
In a hybrid work environment, employers should redesign their offices to foster work-life balance, which employees have learned to embrace since the pandemic started. As an employer, supporting your people’s mental well-being in the office means redesigning architectural features that prioritize everyone’s mental health.
With the suggestions above, you’ll be able to establish harmony within your team as they slowly transition to hybrid work. At the end of the day, the best workplace policy is one that puts employees first without compromising business outcomes. Although things won’t be the same again, it’s about time to welcome changes for employees’ sake.