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Positive pandemic practices to bring back to the workplace

The pandemic has changed the way we live and work. We wanted to focus on the positives that we can take from the past year and bring them back to the office to restructure our workplaces for the better.

4 min read

As challenging as the pandemic has been, ultimately our lives have changed, both negatively and positively. Life isn’t going to return to how it was pre-pandemic for a while so let’s take the positives from the past year and implement them into our new way of living and working. Use this experience as an opportunity to rethink the way your organisation works. Take the habits and lessons that we’ve all picked up from the pandemic and use them to restructure your workplace.

Continued flexibility

Remote working has ultimately giving us a little more flexibility in our day to day working lives, allowing us greater choice in where and how we choose to work. So why not bring the best part of working from home back to the office and change up your office to introduce more agile working practices.

People like to work in different ways and your workplace should accommodate this to ensure your whole team is working as productively as possible. Ensure your workplace has both space for traditional quiet working at desks as well as providing soft seating break out areas, booths, informal meeting rooms to encourage collaborative work when needed. This means that the decreased distractions that you get from working at home can be brought into the office by creating space for however you wish to work.

The key to creating a truly agile workspace is ensuring your technology is up to date. This allows for seamless communication between employees and clients in different offices globally.

Creating focus spaces

Working from home has decreased the chances of your productivity being distracted by colleagues. “Have you got a minute?” can lead to a 30 minute conversation that’s cutting out important focus time of your working day. Time is precious when you’ve got tight deadlines to meet so ensure your workplace is fit to accommodate independent working time.

A common mistake we are often brought in to rectify is workplaces that have made the transition to a more agile way of working but not allowed enough private space for focus work. Remember choice is key in creating successful agile work environments. Booths, focus pods and quiet zones in the office can ensure there are distraction free areas when deadlines need to be met. Dedicated collaboration zones should be separated from quiet zones, and along with a clean desk policy you may want to consider creating policies for focus work zones. In a recent fit out we completed for this well known Fintech Company we integrated a ‘library’ space for staff to escape to if they were needing a silent space to get some heads down work done.

Remote working privacy

Working from home has allowed for the opportunity to have one on one conversations with colleagues, managers, etc either over the phone or on video call. These private encounters allow you to have a comfortable conversation with your colleague without feeling like the whole office is watching.

It may be a confidential or sensitive topic or you might just prefer one to one chats, ensure your workplace provides space for these. Whether it’s the inclusion of cubicles, increasing the quantity of smaller meeting rooms or even providing cubby holes or secluded spaces. Creating quiet spaces that are easy to drop into or are able to be booked ensures there is space to escape from the rest of the office.

Keep the office safe

During the pandemic we think it’s safe to say we have all been more conscious of health and safety in day-to-day life. Take this as a positive from COVID-19 and continue this practice in the workplace. Providing a safe workplace for your employees to return to is key to making your team feel comfortable about spending more time in the office.

Whether it’s more frequent deep cleaning of the office, one-way systems, increased hand sanitiser points, installing air ventilation systems, creating more space between workstations to allow for social distancing or providing face masks for employees. These health and safety practices which are mostly very easy and simple to implement can create a more comfortable environment for your team.

Maintaining virtual connectivity

The pandemic has undoubtably changed not only the amount of hours we spend in the office compared to working remotely, but also changed the way we connect with staff and colleagues. The rise of more virtual collaborations during the pandemic are not expected to decline now that we are beginning to transition back to the office. With more and more organisations choosing to adopt a more hybrid approach to the office, or introducing more flexible working from home policies, virtual collaboration is here to stay.

Adopting more virtual ways of working means a noisier office. In order to allow your staff the ability to host more virtual collaborations while they’re in the office might mean you need new spatial and technical equipment to improve our office acoustics. 

Unwanted noise and lack of privacy are amongst the top workplace complaints. Poor office acoustics can negatively impact staff health and wellness, in some instances causing increased stress and fatigue levels. Check out our insights on how to improve your office acoustics.

A sentiments, and work practices have changed, finding the right balance of work to home hybrid working that suits your business and current real estate requires an individual approach. We can help you to define and combine your business goals, employee needs, infrastructure, technology and space requirements that will bring your teams work practices into the future and emerge positively through this time of inevitable change. 

If you experienced something positive throughout the pandemic and want to bring it back to the workplace then get in touch today to find out how we can accommodate this in the design of your space!