Written by, Charlotte Elliott
It is fair to say that 2020 was not the year that anybody would have imagined. For many, the four walls of a bedroom, a makeshift chair propped with sofa cushions to ineffectively avoid backache, and the rise and fall of the sunshine through the window became our new office view. We now find ourselves navigating the prospect of going back to the office, wondering what the new 'norm' will be when it comes to working.
We will be exploring a few things that might be worth considering within the workplace in 2021— as for many —it's going to be a different kind of year!
Out with the old, in with the new
The need to redesign the office following COVID-19 regulations and guidelines have caused companies to completely rethink their entire office design.
Versatility, safety, and the ability to transition between working from home and office work are the new frontiers of what is going to make your office work post-pandemic.
Open plan can work with the correct planning in place. Fewer people on desk banks, screens for protection, increased awareness of space, better ventilation, and bringing the outside in are a few ways in which offices can promote a safe working environment.
"Let's let offices become team spaces… take those rows and rows of desks and turn them into carefully controlled spaces that people feel comfortable in," says Eve Edelstein, co-founder of the research-based consultancy Clinicians for Design.
coffee and chill
Coffee Culture has been on the rise in the UK for many years. However, with recent events causing people to be at home, people are more reliant than ever on its escapism, caffeine content and social healing properties.
People are leaving their much-loved coffee machines at home and traipsing back into the office, leaving behind a newfound part of a productive working day. Allowing this culture to transcend the office walls into your employee's coffee cup is a no brainer in easing back into office life.
Informal, comfortable and productivity inducing spaces are suitable for a workplace coffee joint. It is all about creating a space that can facilitate all aspects of a working day' but with a coffee in hand.
The world we live in
In April 2020 bike sales were up 60%, the presence of electric scooters whizzing around the streets became the new norm, busses were empty, and people began to leave more and more cars on the driveway.
From the method in which people are now getting to work to the consideration of the need for more green space when in the office; it's clear people are thinking more earnestly about the world in which we live.
This thought process is now transcending into workplace culture too. Considering how much natural lighting is filtering through an office window is an easy way to transform an office space entirely; instead of using partitions that block out light, considering the use of 'living walls', hanging plants or partitions that are easy on the eye and let in a generous amount of circadian goodness!
Waiting for the 21st of June to broach the topic of maybe participating in 'National Bring Your Dog to Work Day' can now be a thing of the past.
The combination of learning how to work from home successfully with a dog wandering around your feet, and the positive and practical impact this has had; makes going back to leaving your dog at home for the day a defunct prospect.
With strong links to employee's productivity, wellbeing, and health- it is hard to think of a reason for why this should not be a regular occasion. It also shows a company's ability to think one paw ahead when it comes to alternative methods of improving workplace wellness.
With the rise of people working from home the all too familiar Zoom ringing tone is something that is going to play in our minds forever.
Its multiuse functions came as a lifeline for most businesses, as we navigated our way through furlough and reduced working hours. By navigating through different forms of remote and digital communication, it has allowed us time to really consider our weekly meeting intakes now that we are getting back to the office and cull where appropriate.
In a study created by software developers and engineers, we can see that if we are spending more than 14% in meetings; it is way too many. So, if you can mix up communication through video calls, emails, and face to face— do it!
Consider spaces that defy the usual glass office for meetings. Soft seating, high canteen-style standing tables enhanced with workplace technology, and relaxed areas can all be a meeting room.