As employees begin to filter back into the office, companies have an obligation to create Covid-secure social distanced workspaces. The post-pandemic period is expecting to see a flurry of activity in revitalizing office space.
Office refurbishments represent an opportunity for companies to create a work environment where employees feel safe, enjoy spending their time in and improving productivity.
Companies are choosing to refurbish their existing office rather than relocate. Office refits make planning, budgeting and managing easier. Refurbs can also inject a positive change and boost staff morale.
There are also cost-saving benefits for companies that have an opportunity to downsize. For example, why pay rent for two floors when one will suffice. Regardless of how much office space you have, government directives indicate that employers should provide a Covid-secure workplace.
The design of your reception area has to make an impression. It is the first space that visitors have of your company. Moreover, reception areas serve a practical function. They control the flow of visitors, provide the main access to the building and promote the efficiency of your company.
In the post-pandemic world, reception areas also have to demonstrate that you are taking appropriate measures to protect your employees, clients and visitors.
Private office space can provide office managers with a problem. On the one hand, employees need privacy and quiet. On the other hand, private office space in the traditional format is failing miserably.
Studies show that employees have more job satisfaction when they have contact with colleagues. However, open-plan offices are also proving to be a failure on many levels.
The solution is to provide your workforce with flexible solutions. Install quiet spaces that offer privacy and the ability to concentrate, but also enable your employees to work in other areas of the office where they can connect and bond with colleagues.
Private office space should support working preferences, provide access to technologies and support the cognitive function and mental health of employees.
Breakout areas should be multi-functional and provide employees with opportunities to switch, collaborate, bond or perform impromptu activities.
For example, if following a meeting two or more people need a quick chat on a particular issue, a breakout space provides an ideal opportunity for them to continue the discussion and even access and share files.
Although breakout spaces do not have to define how they are used, some companies are creating fun zones that provide employees with activity-based entertainment such as billiards, video games and swings.
Researchers have found that the stress levels of working in open-plan offices contribute to ill-health. The World Health Organisation estimate work-related illness contributes to a 4-6% loss of GDP.
Breakout spaces are an emerging trend that helps to reduce stress. They also encourage creative ideas, enhances productivity and allow colleagues to build workplace relationships.
Biophilic Office Designs
With health and wellbeing topping the list of priorities for the latest wave of office refurbishments, biophilic offices designs resolve several key issues.
People have an innate connection with nature. However, concrete cities do not provide office workers with sufficient exposure to the natural world. As a result, interior office designers are bringing the outdoors indoors. Biophilic office designs mimic city gardens and parks. They involve installing green walls and incorporating a variety of plants scattered around the office and hanging from the ceiling.
Investing in furniture and fittings made from natural materials and textures have also been found to help employees feel calmer, relaxed and less stressed. Wood, sand and marble brings aesthetic qualities into office designs and adds different dimensions.