Redesigning your office to attract workers back to HQ

For the past couple of years, working life as we’ve known it has significantly changed. Under unusual circumstances workers swapped the office and physical interactions with remote working and online communications. But as restrictions have lifted, workers are now being asked to return, albeit part-time, back into the office. This has led to the exploration into how the role of physical office space plays within an organisation to offer a safe Covid-safe environment that will be attractive to employees.

Employee expectations
Prior to the global pandemic, employees had been calling for more flexible working arrangements.People had many months of quarantine and physical separation to reflect on what aspects of their daily lives they miss and which they can do without. Some people feel empowered as they have greater control over their time; others feel lonely because they aren’t getting the direction or interaction they want at work. Now people want the best of both worlds, with many employees expecting to work from home at least one day each week after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Employees now expecting a level of flexibility from their employers, many companies are looking to facilitate a hybrid work environment in which workers can split their time working in the office and at home.

People want to see major changes in the design of their office post-COVID. Having set up their home office environment that suit their home, an office chair and a custom desk chosen for comfort & style, and systems that allow them to connect remotely with other team members, they are now looking for the same settings in the office.

Time for a new commercial office fitout?
Commercial office space has been under utilised for years, with only half of individual workspace occupied, on average, at any given time. This led to an increase in agile working environments. Companies are considering physical redesigns by looking at their office real estate and are reassessing those spaces to accommodate their employees.

Office furniture solutions could be the answer
Multi-use spaces that can be tweaked at a moment’s notice, and other flexible solutions will be critical components to a successful office design. But the easiest way to create an office space that employees want to return back to is through office furniture that appeals. A simple solution is to add space buffers between existing workspaces, these can be done by adding office partitions , storage units, or plants. Another solution is adapt your furniture configuration to reconfigure desking to reduce face-to- face orientation. Turn workstations to 90-degree angles to prevent workers from working directly across or behind one another.

Promote safe distancing and create a minimum 1.5m distancing between people in open workspaces and lounge spaces. Reduce floor space congestion by removing excess desks, tables and seating, or use alternate desks. Communal areas such as tearooms, meeting rooms and training rooms could be redesigned to have increased ventilation or air purifiers. They can also have smaller tables for groups in clusters and break times can be staggered by teams.

The future is flexible
As the hybrid working environment is here to stay, organisations will need to provide stimulating and inspiring spaces that are designed intentionally so that employees who choose to come into the office – in favour of alternatives – are equipped to do their best work. Companies need to create a workplace ecosystem that enables and empowers staff at all levels to navigate how and where work-related activities are accomplished. For practical advice and guidance on how to best approach an office fit out, the IC Corporate Interiors team can work with you from initial concept to installation. Feel free to call on (03) 8802 9630 for your free on site consultation, measure and quote.