The pandemic has changed our hobbies, our lifestyle, our leisure, our time management, and most importantly, our ways of working. As lockdown and restrictions on social activities are imposed, for many of us, the days of commuting to work seem to be a lifetime ago. If we used to spend most of our days with coworkers in offices, remote working has brought office to our own homes. Meanwhile, the physical offices we used to work at have been vacant for months.
While the end of the pandemic is getting more likely, the end of remote working is a little less likely for some. Some companies opt to make remote working permanent. It’s hard to say no, considering that it’s cost-efficient, and it doesn’t slow down people’s productivity. However, some others insist that physical office will remain necessary as remote working doesn’t come without its own issues, be it Wi-Fi-related or communication-related.
Whether a business decide to maintain the need for a physical office or not will be up to its leaders. However, what business leaders cannot avoid is that the way we perceive office is now totally different. Since an office is the heart and brain of a business, leaders need to prepare office for not only 2021, but also the future. With that said, here are some aspects that leaders need to think about in redefining their offices from 2021 onwards.
Safety is splendid. This was true before the pandemic and is even more relevant as everyone is now at risk of getting infected. While workspace has been personalized, for safety measure, the need for physical distancing will highlight the importance of workspace privacy for each staff member. In addition to distance between workers, redesigning your office for the future will require the consideration of installing health-related safety measures for your team members.
For instance, your office could use more empty space to increase the physical distance between workers. Having hand sanitizer attached to specific corners can also be a form of safety consideration. The use of touch-free sensors for not only elevators buttons, but also attendance records and coffee machine will also greatly improve the safety of your office. While these precautions may seem a little too much, extra effort that leaders make to ensure worker safety will not go unnoticed.
Space for Socialization
Despite its importance, organic socialization between employees nowadays have migrated to private chats, since both offline and online meetings are reserved strictly for work-related topics. This is why leaders should provide a space for socialization, whether their office is now virtual or remains conventional. In virtual offices, leaders can allocate time for employee to form connection with one another, just like office in real life before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, your conventional office in 2021 could have a redesign to provide more freedom for organic, informal social interaction while keeping safety in mind. Large open space, for instance, will be a great addition to your office to accommodate the need for real-life interactions, from casual conversations to meetings. Creating spaces like these would ensure that teamwork culture can remain alive despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.
We know, the phrase is an oxymoron. What we mean by “scheduled varieties” is the necessity to plan out flexible ways of working that you can incorporate to your office. Restrictions and limitations that COVID-19 has brought can result in monotony in being in an office, whether it’s a physical or a virtual one. This is why leaders must plan to incorporate something novel to not only what their office looks like, but also when their office takes place.
An example would be the combined schedule of offline and online working. There’s been a rift between online and offline offices, and many businesses tend to prefer one more than the other. However, as a leader, you can choose to have both offline and online offices. For instance, some days can be allocated for virtual meetings between several teams, while some other days the team can meet together in a redesigned, physical office that ensures their safety.
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