The return-to-the-office era is going to be different for every company. But for many, the office environment remains at the core of the corporate ecosystem. The physical office plays a critical role in solving employees’ immediate needs and improving workplace strategy.
Today, companies are investing in office upgrades to make everyone’s return to office experience is as warm and inviting as possible. Some hire a water heater repair service to enhance the heating system of the office, while others install smart tech solutions to automate manual work.
Whatever office upgrade you’re working on, it’s important to prioritize how you plan to design the office layout to help employees navigate the post-pandemic change. With that in mind, here are design tips for your return-to-office plan:
Plan the Layout From Day One
Day one of the planning process involves choosing the desired layout of the office before everyone moves in. As much as possible, every aspect should be carefully planned to minimize regret down the line. The last thing you want is to do a complete overhaul of the office if it fails to accommodate the occupants’ needs.
Prioritize flexibility when designing the office layout. It should be able to adapt to any future changes, whether you plan to scale up or down. Since most offices have embraced remote and hybrid work, most of the spaces will be left unused because employees will divide their time between going to work and staying at home. For this reason, the ideal modern office should easily accommodate sudden pivot or growth in the business so you can easily adjust whether to sublet or cut down on space.
Maximizing the workspace is something many overlook in office layouts. Every space should be utilized once the team moves in the supplies, furniture, and office equipment. It needs to have flexible modular options and follow the correct workstation configuration to provide spaces that employees need.
At the same time, allow workers a chance to familiarize themselves with the office space so that they can decide how they will interact with their workstations. Make sure to allocate opportunities and budget according to their needs to adapt accordingly.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
Many employers insist on making big decisions when it comes to office design. They end up picking the layout, planning the space usage, and making wholesale purchases for office furniture. While this allows them to take full control of the budget, deciding about the office design should be collaborative, not based on assumptions and personal preferences.
Good workspace planning is based on good data. Don’t assume that employees will behave according to your design decisions. Chances are, they will even surprise you. When understanding the use of office space, it’s important to look at the big picture and ask important questions: What are your future growth plans for the business? How do employees use the office space? What kind of spaces do they need to perform their tasks effectively. Surveying staff, gathering data through observation, and monitoring space usage will help you decide how to use the office space efficiently while ensuring no rooms are left unused or misused.
Make the Office an Inviting Space to Work In
Consider the different types of work your teams usually do. In this age of remote work, employees prefer a combination of open floor plans and dedicated rooms for much-needed privacy.
Areas for deep work are a must in a modern office environment; the room should accommodate personal calls, webinars, teleconferences, and other collaborative activities. It should be a place where teams can gather for brainstorming sessions and brief meetings without disrupting nearby colleagues. For example, you can create a small modular booth that employees can use for video meetings while offering flexibility.
You can also incorporate digital tools designed for the virtual office. These include projection and screen-sharing capabilities, such as tech-powered whiteboards for brainstorming sessions and private areas for online training and collaboration with remote workers.
The office is only a small part of a huge network of workspaces where actual work is done. Design the office with this concept in mind and never think practically by department. Consider the differences in nature of work and how to enhance the environment to accommodate different types of work.
Employers today should think of strategies to help their employees and the organization survive in the post-pandemic world. The best place to start is to make the return-to-office work comfortable and smooth despite the changes. Designing the office environment according to everyone’s needs will help the organization’s culture drive towards innovation, collaboration, and professional growth.